beatrice_otter: Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert (Javert)
As someone who knows a bit about history, there are a few things that most historical fiction (pro or fan) gets wrong ALL THE TIME, and it really drives me batty.  So I will be writing a few primers about basic details that people get wrong a lot, on an irregular basis.  It will not be a systematic "everything you need to know" basis, but rather "these are the things that bug me the most."  Unless otherwise specified, all these primers will refer to European and European-American culture and history.  (So, for example, your standard Regency AU.)

My first primer was on Corsets and Undergarments.

Today we're going to talk about class, titles, and formal modes of address!

You've all read this scene.  It's set in a different time period with really significant class differences.  Our Hero is a noble/really rich, and talking with a servant/lower class person, and the servant uses their rank or title, and Our Hero feels uncomfortable!  It's so stuffy and formal and weird!  And so they tell the servant/lower class person to just call them by their first name.  This is how you know that they are Egalitarian and therefore Good.  (Often the villain, if there is one, is very insistent on maintaining the visible elements of the class structure.)  And when the Good Egalitarian Aristocrat/Rich Person tells the Low Class Person to call them by their first name and treat them like they're friends and equals, the Low Class Person is happy with this and they become fast friends.

This is what we call projecting modern views on history. )

Now, if you want to completely ignore all this and have your Regency AU just be modern people in weird clothes, that's cool.  But if you actually want it to matter that they're in the past for anything more than "oh, fancy parties, cool," please keep this in mind.
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
I'm pretty sure I offered to nominate a Star Trek novel for someone.  Vulcan's Glory, I think?  But I can't remember for sure.
beatrice_otter: Cover of Janelle Monae's Archandroid album (Archandroid)
There is a short story by Naomi Kritzer called "Cat Pictures Please" that is ABSOLUTELY HYSTERICAL.  And it's really short, but the worldbuilding is AWESOME.  It's about an AI who ... well, I can't tell you because that would spoil it, but you really need to go read it right away.  (It got the Hugo for Best Short Story this year, and boy did it deserve it.)

I read it like three times in a row and then promptly sat down thinking up plot bunnies.  Hee.  There is SO MUCH room for exploration.  I want to know What Happens Next, and What the Humans Think about all this, and what other stuff the AI has been up to, and just EVERYTHING.

There is not enough CAPSLOCK to express my squee and joy.

Please go read it and squee with me over it!

beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
This month, the United Nations General Assembly and President Obama will each host a summit to address the global refugee and migration crises. On September 19, the UN will be hosting a high-level summit to address large movements of refugees and migrants. The next day, President Obama will host a Leaders’ Summit on Refugees to encourage global leaders to make significant new commitments towards increasing financial support, resettlement, education, and employment opportunities for refugees.

More details and a script to call your senators and representatives with. )

Support for an overhaul of the criminal justice system surged this year after months of calls and pressure from advocates like you across the country. Decades of harsh and overly unfair prison sentencing policies have devastated communities. From overcrowding in prisons and skyrocketing federal detention costs, to countless families unnecessarily separated for small nonviolent crimes, reform is urgent now. More information and link to an email you can send your Senators about it. )

A few notes on why this is important. Politicians do not, by and large, pay attention to online petitions. You see, they long ago figured out that huge numbers of people who sign online petitions either a) don't live in their districts or b) aren't going to vote anyway. Young people are more likely to sign petitions like that, and pass them around; young people are the demographic least likely to vote. Why should a politician care about what someone who isn't going to vote thinks? Answer: they don't! But people who call their office or email them directly, those are a horse of a different color. Particularly those who talk about specific bills and whether they should or shouldn't support them. People who do that? Those are the people who are absolutely going to vote. Those are the people who are paying attention and holding them accountable. So those are the people they listen to. Do you want politicians to listen to your opinions? Then call or email them directly about specific policies, and follow it up by voting not just in national elections, but every local election too. This does not guarantee that they will do what you want all the time, or that people you agree with will get elected. But at least you have a shot this way.
beatrice_otter: Yuletide (Yuletide)
They're going to be opening up nominations for [community profile] yuletide fandoms, and I have no idea what to nominate.  There is no fandom that I passionately want a story in that I can only get through [community profile] yuletide.

Partly this is because of my great good fortune last year.  I have, since I first started participating in [ profile] yuletide a decade ago, requested Donovan's Reef every year.  And last year, [ profile] Damkianna heard my prayers and wrote me an excellent fic, we floated there along with the clouds.  It is an excellent fic, and I love it.  But it does sort of leave me at lost ends.  I could ask for it again, of course (if one fic in a fandom is good, two would be better), but that seems sort of ungrateful.  And it is lovely!  But Donovan's Reef--nominating it, requesting it, knowing that I wouldn't get a fic for it but living in hope anyway--was the one unchanging aspect of [ profile] yuletide for me for a decade.  Everything else changed, but not that.

Partly this is because I'm sort of between fandoms at the moment.  I mean, I'm still reading a lot of fanfic, but I don't have any canon that I've consumed recently that has really gripped me with the need to know more, big or small.  I'm drifting away from MCU; haven't gone to see one of their movies since Age of Ultron.  (Which was why I couldn't participate in [community profile] marvel_poc--I didn't know enough recent canon, and you can't say "oh, yeah, I'll write Nick Fury, but only as relates to the first Avengers movie and Cap: Winter Soldier!"  I loved the new Ghostbusters, but I don't have any fic bunnies for it; it seemed complete to me as it was.  And the latest Star Trek was by far the best of the three (so far) reboots, but mostly spurred me to pull out my half-finished sequel to The Desert Between, rather than read or write something based on the latest movie.  I love Supergirl, but little of the fic really seems to appeal to me; TFA, ditto.  I feel restless, fannishly; I've always been polyfannish, with more than one fandom I'm participating in at any one time, but usually at least one (if not more) of them really grip me, taking pride of place.  And that then forms the scaffold around which all else rotates.  And now there isn't one.

As for YT-appropriate fandoms, I've read and watched some over the year, but none have grabbed me and said you have to request this next year.  My list of Yuletide prompts (I keep a list of possible Yuletide fandoms and prompts, because otherwise I'd never remember what I intended to ask for) hasn't changed since last year.  And, you know, most of them are old staples, moderately large (for YT) fandoms where I would be genuinely happy to get a fic, but don't have a really pressing need for it.  I like having a balance--a couple of prompts that REALLY GET ME GOING (one of them the Donovan's Reef prompt that I knew wouldn't get written, but hoped for anyway), and then some from more common fandoms that I'd be happy to get.  So I wouldn't be impossible to match, and I'd be happy no matter what, and had a chance of getting something REALLY AWESOME OMG.  And this year ... the old staples that I'd be happy to get are all I really have, but nothing I'll be secretly hoping for more than any others.

It's kind of a let-down.

beatrice_otter: A horserider with a glowing blue sword--from the cover of Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword (Blue Sword)
North and South (3846 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Aravis/Lasaraleen, Aravis/Shasta | Cor
Characters: Aravis (Narnia), Shasta | Cor, Lasaraleen, Aslan, King Lune (Narnia), Ram the Great
Additional Tags: Immigration & Emigration, Bisexual Female Character, Female Character of Color, Canon Character of Color, Canonical Character Death, Original Character(s), Religious Imagery & Symbolism
Summary:  Aravis left her heart in Calormen.

This is a fic for the Seeing Color fic exchange, and it's one of the best.  Lovely, lovely look at Aravis, and how leaving Calormen was a bit more complicated than the book delved into, and her relationship with Lasaraleen.  Beautiful, and it made me cry.

beatrice_otter: Cameron Mitchell, bored with a stack of files (Schoolwork)
Post the first line from your 25 most recent fanfics and try to find a pattern. Taken from [ profile] jedibuttercup 

25 First Lines )

Patterns )

beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
Every Tuesday morning I meet with a group of pastors to study the Bible passages assigned for the upcoming Sunday.  And this Sunday's passage is about the healing of the woman who had been "crippled by a spirit" for 18 years and unable to stand upright.  And I mentioned that people with disabilities are, demographically, by far the least churched people in America, partly because of accessibility issues and partly because of texts like this--either they go "and why haven't I had my miracle cure yet?" or they get really uncomfortable with the priority on asking for miracles (and using them as inspiration porn) rather than accepting them into the community and accommodating their needs.

Possibly this was a bad idea, because it started people off talking about the very things I had just told them many people with disabilities find offensive.  As in, I had to break in at one point and say that I knew a lot of people with disabilities of various kinds, visible and invisible both, who would stand up and walk out if they heard a sermon preached like that.  And, granted, in my rural context, you are far less likely to encounter disabled people who have enough contact with the disability rights movement to have the vocabulary for why they don't like or resent certain things, and so they're much more likely to think "it's just me being weird, everyone else thinks it's great, I shouldn't make a big deal of it."  That doesn't mean they'll like it or appreciate it.

It was hard to tell what a couple of the pastors there thought, but one of them was all "but we have to make it relatable to the rest of the congregation who don't have a disability!" as an excuse, and another was all into the "everyone has a disability!" approach.

Without time to prepare ahead of time, I am not as articulate as I am when I can sit down and write things out.  It was very frustrating.

beatrice_otter: Jedi fighting against a blue background (blue Jedi)
Interconnected Loops of the Universe (1829 words) by tielan
Fandom: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Rating: General Audiences
Characters: Maz Kanata
Additional Tags: Slice of Life, Living, History, herstory
Summary: A story of beginnings and endings.

Really interesting look at Maz's backstory.  My only complaint is that I wish it were longer!
beatrice_otter: Finn holding a blue lightsaber (Finn)
The thing about Rey is that for her to be a Skywalker would betray her whole thematic arc from The Force Awakens, in ways that would be really unfortunate for some of the people who identify with her.  She really has two: first and most obviously, "I'm no one," who becomes powerful.  She doesn't have fancy background or training, she's not some mystical Chosen One, she just steps up and claims her strength and succeeds.  That's a powerful message to send, not just to girls but to all people.

Second, she suffered because of (as far as she knows) her family.  She had years of abandonment, hunger, terrible conditions, because of what was done to her as a child.  Through it all, she had this idea in her head that if they would just come back--they, the very people who left her to that--everything would be fine.  That there would be a happy family.  But she is the one sinned against, here.  There are so many people (and I work with some of them) who have been abused and/or abandoned by their families.  Most of the time, reconciliation is not possible because the abusive family is not willing to change to become non-abusive or non-neglectful.  Any reconciliation requires the victim to make excuses for and buy into the abuser's story, at great cost to their own mental and emotional stability and healing.  (Yes, I know, there may have been extenuating circumstances.  That does not negate the damage Rey has suffered.)  Our society privileges "heartwarming reunion" even if it means papering over and ignoring the damage done.  I want more than that for Rey, and I want more than that for the people who identify with her.  I appreciate that her arc was to let go of her idealization that "when they come back for me, everything will be fine," and go on to a new life not dictated by the family that (whether intentionally or not) left her in hell.

I will be very disappointed if Rey is secretly a Skywalker.  I really hope they're trying to fake us out, and it's Finn.  But regardless, I'd rather no new Skywalkers than Rey being one.
beatrice_otter: Finn holding a blue lightsaber (Finn)
Title: What Once Was Lost
Author: beatrice_otter
Fandom: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Characters: Finn, Rey, Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, Leia Organa, Poe Dameron
Word count: 6,879
AN: This fic does not work with the official timeline. Looking things up, the destruction of Luke's Jedi Academy was only about six years before the beginning of The Force Awakens, although the movie seems to imply that it's been much longer. This plot bunny comes from all the fanon that Rey or Finn are lost Skywalker children who disappeared/were taken around the time of the destruction of the Jedi Academy, which obviously cannot be the case if they would have been older teens at the time of Kylo Ren's attack. (Either could still be a Skywalker, but their disappearance would have come earlier.)

At AO3

Rey thought that now they knew where Luke Skywalker was, someone would take off immediately to find him. )

AN: This is what I wrote instead of the next chapter of Past Lives.
beatrice_otter: Superman--red cape (Superman Cape)
Like Ephraim and Menasheh (2921 words) by Starlightify
Fandom: DCU
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Jonathan Kent/Martha Kent
Characters: Jonathan Kent, Martha Kent, Clark Kent
Additional Tags: Alien Biology, Trans Character, Autism, Disabled Character, neurodivergent character, Parent-Child Relationship, Jewish Character, martha and jonathan kent's adventures in raising a space baby
Series: Part 1 of repairing the world
Summary: There's not exactly a manual on how to raise a space baby. Martha and Jonathan do the best they can.

This is actually a rec for the whole series this story is the first one of; so far it's about 20k words, each story of which is self-contained.  They are AWESOME.  Poignant, hilarious, well-characterized, matter-of-fact, trans-positive, neurodivergent-positive, Jewish-symbolism-not-Christian-as-Siegel-and-Shuster-would-have-wanted, and sweet without being saccharine.  I hope the author keeps writing these because they are LOVELY.
beatrice_otter: (Falcon)
So!  I am in the mood for some Lois Lane, Awesome Girl Reporter.  I take me to AO3, and find the Lois Lane tag, and sort it by kudos.  What do I find?

Pages and pages of Clark Kent/Lex Luthor slash (Smallville era) and Clark Kent/Bruce Wayne slash (current movies), with the occasional welcome break for Kara Danvers/Cat Grant femmeslash (Supergirl TV show).  In all of these, Lois is a minor background character who either a) gets our heroes together, b) is the obstacle to them getting together, or c) is off on the casefic aspect of the fic while the main focus is on our heroes getting together.

Now, it's nice to have the occasional femslash thing in there, so it isn't all "Lois Lane Pushed Aside for Whitecock," but still.  I'm not looking for Lois Lane, Minor Supporting Character (and shoved into a one-dimensional box to facilitate someone else's love story).  I want Lois Lane, Awesome Girl Reporter!

Going for the Clark Kent/Lois Lane tag does get me stories where Lois is actually a main character, although also a lot of stories where she's just there to be shoved out of the way for the whitecock pairing.  But while I love CK/Lois Lane fics, it's frustrating that either I'm limited to that or slogging through ENDLESS PAGES OF OTHER STUFF to get to what I really want, which is Lois Lane doing her job and being AWESOME at it.

This is also my problem whenever I'm in the mood for Sam Wilson fics.  In a very high percentage of fics, he is there to facilitate the Steve/Bucky angst.

And here's the thing: if AO3's character tags were broken up into "main character" and "supporting character," when I want stories focusing on Lois Lane or Sam Wilson or any of the host of interesting characters who get shoved aside in favor of the Major Pairing, I could easily find fics where they are the focus!
beatrice_otter: Batman with the Batsignal shining (Batman Signal)
Debt of Blood (15229 words) by pentapus, theLiterator
Fandom: Grayson (Comics), Batman (Comics), Batman - All Media Types
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Characters: Damian Wayne, Dick Grayson, Tiger (DCU), Ra's al Ghul
Additional Tags: Lazarus Pit, Homecoming, Angst, Hurt/Comfort, Dark, Brother Feels, Spyral, League of Assassins - Freeform, Nanda Parbat, All-Caste
Summary:  Spyral sends Dick and Tiger out to gather intel about the League of Assassins, and Dick finds someone he never expected to see alive again.  His three missions are at odds with one another, but in the end, he makes the only choice he knows how to make, and, much to Tiger's surprise, everything works out in the end.  But is it really all that surprising?
beatrice_otter: The Schuyler sisters from the musical Hamilton, pointing to the sky (Schuyler Sisters)
As someone who knows a bit about history, there are a few things that most historical fiction (pro or fan) gets wrong ALL THE TIME, and it really drives me batty.  So I will be writing a few primers about basic details that people get wrong a lot, on an irregular basis.  It will not be a systematic "everything you need to know" basis, but rather "these are the things that are most glaring to me."  Unless otherwise specified, all these primers will refer to European and European-American culture and history.  (So, for example, your standard Regency AU.)

And period clothing and fashion are things I know a bit about, given that a) I find it fascinating and b) I used to work in the costume shop of a theater, so that's the subject of my first post.

One of the most common clothing gaffes I see is, well, ANYTHING related to corsets.  We get that SOOOOOO WRONG.  The myths, they are strong with this one.  So I'm going to define what a corset is, and then bust some myths about them.

What a Corset Is and What it Looks Like )

Corset Myths )

General Undergarment Information, for Pre-20th Century Europe and America (both men and women) )

tl;dr most corsets weren't uncomfortable, unless you're going for high-fashion in the Victorian or Edwardian eras.  Most women could do anything up to and including play sports and do hard physical labor in their corset without a problem.  If you have a European or American woman of the corset-wearing era dropped into modern life, she's not going to think ditching her corset for a bra is the most awesome thing ever, although she may think the idea of getting to wear trousers when she wants to is.  A modern woman put into a corset-wearing era will probably adapt to the corset itself fairly easily, more easily than she would adjust to other aspects of the fashion (the skirts, and the things that held the skirts in whatever ridiculous fashion was popular in that era).  But the lower-class she's going for, the less elaborate they were--a working-class woman would wear simpler stays, and skirts with no under structure.  And a woman in a corset-wearing period, staying in her own era, probably isn't going to think about wearing corsets one way or the other, it just is.

And everybody was wearing two layers of clothing, and only the under layer would get washed unless there was a stain on the outer garment.

beatrice_otter: When you choose an action, you choose the consequences of that action. (Action and Consequences)
The days left on the Congressional calendar are numbered, and yet, funding provisions to respond to the greatest humanitarian crisis of our lifetime have not been allocated. Congress has from now until September to pass funding bills for Fiscal Year 2017 that ensure critical funding for refugee resettlement. However, the draft text cripples the U.S. Refugee Admissions program and reduces resources for refugees at a time when our commitment to serving uprooted men, women, and children is needed most.

More details and how to help )
beatrice_otter: Finn holding a blue lightsaber (Finn)
no room for sympathy (9837 words) by apricots
Fandom: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015), Star Wars: Before the Awakening - Greg Rucka
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: phasma/original female character
Characters: Phasma (Star Wars), Original Female Character(s), Finn (Star Wars)
Additional Tags: Character Study, Origin Story, Pre-Canon, Angst, stormtroopers in training, Canon-Typical Violence, Unhappy Ending, Canon Compliant, Doomed Relationship, Slow Burn, Brainwashing, Emotional Hurt, Hurt No Comfort, Child Soldiers, a potentially dangerous level of empathy
Summary: Captain Phasma in her years as a young stormtrooper-in-training. Everything she says about being a stormtrooper, she learned the hard way.

This is an AWESOME look at Phasma and her backstory and what it's like to be a trooper in the First Order.  Chilling and perfect.
beatrice_otter: Eowyn holding a sword (Eowyn)
[community profile] femmeremix was, as always, a blast, and the fics have now been revealed.  (Authors will be revealed in a week.) I received this marvelous Five Gods fic:
Clarity of Purpose (the Separate Callings remix) (1233 words), Chalion Saga - Lois McMaster Bujold
Characters: Ista dy Chalion, Iselle dy Chalion, Illvin dy Arbanos
Additional Tags: Post-Canon, Mother-Daughter Relationship, Reunions, Difficult Emotions, Paladin of Souls
Summary: Ista wonders how much she and her daughter really recognise each other, these days.

Other fics I enjoyed:
MCU, Harry Potter, and more )
beatrice_otter: All true wealth is biological (Wealth)

Title: The Genetics Factory
Fandom: Criminal Minds/Stargate
Characters: Derek Morgan, Savannah Hayes, Dave Rossi, Paul Davis, Jennifer Keller
Warnings: none
Ficathon: [community profile] wipbigbang 2016
Betaed by: [personal profile] quinfirefrorefiddle 
Summary: In Detroit, homeless addicts are turning up dead. But there's more to the case than meets the eye, and the BAU finds themselves looking for something they don't understand. For Derek, it gets personal.

Art by: [ profile] penumbria 

At AO3

Cover Art showing Derek Morgan in a daycare center

The blueprints for the construction of one human being requires only a meter of DNA and one tiny cell. … even Mozart started out this way. )

Author's Note )
beatrice_otter: When you choose an action, you choose the consequences of that action. (Action and Consequences)
Graph of Citizen Voting Turnout by Age Bracket

First, consider the chart on the left.  It lists the percentage of people in each age bracket who voted in each election since 1986.  Unsurprisingly, a higher percentage in each age bracket vote during Presidential election years than in off years.  Also unsurprisingly, young people are the bottom group.  In years with a Presidential election, we usually get about the same number of 18-29 year olds voting as the next age bracket up (30-44 year olds) in off years.  The older the age group, the higher the percentage of the people who vote.  This is true across the boards.

Now.  Every politician and political strategist in the country has seen this chart or one like it, I guarantee.  Put yourself in their shoes.  They need to win an election.  Who should they court? ).

When you choose an action, you choose the consequences of that action.  When you desire a consequence you had damned well better take the action that would create it.--Lois McMaster Bujold, Memory


beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)

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