Author Archives: Act

The Witcher 2 and 3

…in Sword of Destiny, Geralt and a side character have a conversation about how obvious it is women have the right to terminate pregnancies and it’s so weird anyone could ever have been against that.

In Time of Contempt, the pregnancy plotline involves a young woman wishing she had chosen to have an abortion earlier so she could continue on her journey.

In Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, there’s a questline that involves aborted and miscarried babies coming back as gremlins to brutally murder women because they never received the love they were due from their mothers.

And that should really tell you all you need to know about the Witcher video games as adaptations.

As wRPGs, both 2 and 3 are thoroughly mediocre.

Catherynne M. Valente

Now for Part 2 of my two-part squee series. Despite her weirdly fanficcy name, Catherynne M. Valente is possibly my favorite modern author not just because she’s so talented, but because she’s so prolific. I’m not even halfway through her huge catalogue, and every single thing is equally as good as everything else, no matter when she wrote it. It’s hard to believe she’s just one person; I can’t imagine being this good of a storyteller for this long with apparently zero fuckups.

Valente’s main genre is mythofantasy. Her works have tackled Christian, Arab, Russian, Japanese, Nordic, and a whole bunch of other mythologies with grace, nuance, and aplomb. She’s written for children and adults and always manages to say things that I need to hear when I’m reading her work. If someone wanted my worldview summed up in one author, I’d direct them to Valente.

I don’t think I’ll be able to do anything but gush about these books but oh well.

Also, if you do nothing else with this post, read The Refrigerator Monologues. It’s a series of vignettes about the fridged girlfriends of superheroes and it is this blog condensed into novella form.

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The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

This book by Becky Chambers is basically Futurama, from the semi-serious, semi-silly tone to the plotlines themselves, several of which were Futurama plotlines at one point. If you like Futurama, you’ll likely enjoy this.

It’s biggest flaws were a) the overuse of ZOMGQUIRKY!!!1one characters, b) the author’s biology failures, and c) the jarringly preachy tone it could take. Personally, I found the wordbuilding issues too distracting and thought the author handled her own cast poorly, but I can see why people like it.

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Connie Willis

I’ve been writing a few angryposts tearing apart recs I didn’t like and I feel kind of bad, so you’ll get in exchange two authors recced to me that have quickly become two of my favorite writers of all-time. Today, in part one of a two-part SQUEE series, Connie Willis! She is a true master.

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An Inheritance of Ashes

Leah Bobet’s An Inheritance of Ashes is one of those YA books where everyone assumes the worst of the protagonist in every situation no matter how absurd, everyone treats her like shit, and no one is capable of human conversation. It was phenomenally frustrating to read, and by the end I hated everyone involved.

It’s also not very well written, although I suspect this is less because the author is a particularly bad writer and more that she just wasn’t a good enough one to do what she was trying to do.

This was also one of those where the longer I’ve sat on it, the more I’ve disliked it. Right after I was done it wasn’t that bad, and it’s gotten worse and worse over the past few days.

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Chalion

Lois McMaster Bujold’s Chalion series of medieval fantasy based on historical Spain is comprised of three books (The Curse of Chalion, The Paladin of Souls, and The Hallowed Hunt) and some novellas (haven’t read these yet) all set in the same world. They all stand alone, which is notable as I’ve been reading a lot of first-book-in-a-series lately, and it was so nice to read something with an actual beginning, middle, and ending. It was also wonderful to read something with active, capable characters who could keep up with the implication of events in their own world and actually even beat me to figuring some things out. Bujold’s writing is a delight and her characters are real, flawed people who are easy to root for. The world also feels very real, too, likely bolstered by the fact that, unlike a lot of the YA fantasy we’ve done, it doesn’t carefully tiptoe around things like the existence of homosexuality and abortion or the consequences of rape and war.

Also!!! Paladin of Souls has a character who’s fat but it’s not a character flaw!!! I’ve literally never seen this in a fantasy novel before, the only time his weight comes up as anything but a neutral physical descriptor is toward the end where it’s noted that after some times trapped under siege he’s thinner and it’s sad because it shows how much he’s been through.

Oddly, this series seems to get sold as romance, which is weird because it’s… not. Especially for medieval fantasy where who-marries-who court-style stuff is usually a big focus, it lacked romance. It’s really weird, kind of the opposite of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which was sold as straight fantasy but was actually romantic fantasy.

Also, as a final pre-jump aside, despite these being excellent fantasy, Bujold is actually known for her space opera series, to the point that it got her a lifetime achievement award at last year’s Hugos, and if you follow the sidebar, you may know space opera bores me to tears. I’d be curious to hear if any fans of the genre are familiar with her series.

Anyway.

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Downtime

Yo, I’m aware the site went down. Overnight there was a massive CPU spike that used up our bandwidth for the whole month (!!!). I’m trying to figure out exactly what happened — hopefully it was a rogue plugin and not a vengeful fanfic writer.

FYI.

edit: Found the rogue plugin, should be good now.

DQ on Twitch

Hey all. I am on the cusp of getting my life back together which is nice, and while I’m not up to writing just yet I am up to playing games again, and I’ve had a few people express interest in watching me play games for some reason, so you can find us on twitch at twitch.tv/dragonquillblog/. Currently on the horizon for me are Dragon Warrior Monsters 2 (Tara Version), Vanishing of Ethan Carter, and the original Fallout. I’d def take requests, too.

I’m hoping to be back at Umineko soon in written form as well.

<3,

Act

Discount Armageddon

Discount Armageddon is the first book of Seanan McGuire’s InCryptid series, and it’s basically what Dresden Files would be if it weren’t terribly written by a terrible person. It’s cheesy pulp urban fantasy, but it’s also sharp-witted and self-aware, and stars a competent protagonist whose whole MO is that she’s not a murderous psycho. If I were in a better way I’d really want to do a Let’s Read of it, because it’s such a great counterexample of fluff done well. I honestly loved it; it was tightly written, the complete opposite of high art, and lots of fun.

Incidentally, the old guy at the register at the Harvard COOP gave me a shitfuckton of condescension for buying this book while talking to my husband about how Clearly Learned he was for his purchase, and fuck that guy.

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