Cat!

Mar. 19th, 2019 08:06 pm
ursula: bear eating salmon (Default)
2019-03-19_08-04-44

We have a new cat! His name is Kosmas, after the Syrian doctor saint (and because the shelter called him Cosmo).
ursula: second-century Roman glass die (icosahedron)
A piece of worldbuilding solidified for me, while doing this session's planning. One of the setting aspects we developed when we were first planning the Aztec Cyberpunk campaign was The Broken Pyramid. We agreed it was in some way technological, in some way related to climate or the ocean, and that cults tended to spring up around it. I realized, while thinking about the activities of a particular cult, that there's a natural way for magic and technology to interact. Everything I've read about Aztec religion has insisted that the dichotomy between representation and reality is a Western one, that a represented thing has its own reality. In this setting, that means a sufficiently detailed simulation will be not only descriptive, but prescriptive. And the pyramid is running code...

Anyway, on to the quotes!


  • "I mean, who really knows what humans do?"
    "Certainly not humans!"
  • "You haven't heard anything about this cult."
    "They're super obscure. That's so cool."
    "You had this god on vinyl."
  • "You could just knock on his door and say, 'I want to join your cult.'"
    "You're not the pizza guy!" [bird squawking]
    "I am not making another sexy bird decoy."
  • "I'm trying to data-science this!"
  • "Gambler's fallacy! Gambler's fallacy!" [bangs table]
    "You made my d10 light up!"
  • "You're going to break me!"
    "Between the cake and the pseudoscience..."
  • "They could be using the natural power to disrupt the artificial power."
    "I hate to say this, but that sounds... right."
  • "He wasn't able to find the ecoterrorist equivalent of a recruiting poster."
  • "I'm listening to everything you're saying. A man turned himself blue and carved a key out of a block of silver."
  • "You just need to study the ways of the desert snake."
    "To live in the ocean?"
  • "Where did you get this die?"
    "It came with my husband."
  • "It's like turning your liver into a laser."
  • "We'll need to disrupt the power of the ritual, and we'll be like, OK, I hit this guy with a rock--"
    "An agate, so it calms him down."
  • "I think we just need to tail the guy. Maybe not me, 'cause I sort of stand out. Having, literally, a tail."
  • "Don't get this guy started on Carthage!"
  • "This is--office drone kind of cult participation?"
  • "Either that, or you're a lizard person."
    [flicks tongue, then squawks]
    "Or a snowy egret person!"
  • "Fate brought us together."
  • "By our powers combined, we are OSHA recordable!"
  • [describes podcast]
    [enthusiastically] "It's like having fake friends!"

museum

Feb. 16th, 2019 08:25 pm
ursula: bear eating salmon (Default)
[personal profile] glasseye and I went to the Detroit Institute of Arts today. Some photos are here.

Some highlights... )
ursula: second-century Roman glass die (icosahedron)
Quotes from Monday's game:


  • "Are you sending me a message by phone, email, or snake?"
  • "Of course it's Jade Skirt! Her again!"
    "Well, we could go always go talk to an entitled rich girl..."
  • "Hang on, I have to figure out whether herring exists in Texas. Would I say 'red herring', or something else?... I could, yes--wait, that's the herring gull."
  • "I want him on snakeout overnight."
  • "I swear, if I end up having to look up Aztec climate science..."
  • "Can you just stand against a wall and pretend to be artwork? Use your hydromancy to make water spew out of your finger?" [puffs mouth and imitates a fountain]
  • "When I become a god, can I have frog priests? Or weasels, actually. I like weasel priests."
  • "In some sources they're rivals, in some they're married."
    "That doesn't sound inconsistent?"
  • "I'm not concerned if we can get him in [to the cult]. I'm concerned if we can get him out."
  • "This is intriguing."
    "I'm definitely getting a Dresden Files feeling."
    "There's not so much... misogyny..."
ursula: second-century Roman glass die (icosahedron)
Recently, I came across a couple of fun articles about math and computer games in MAA (Mathematical Association of America) publications.

Here's a disclaimer on reading math articles. )

Aaron M. Broussard, Martin E. Malandro, and Abagayle Serreyn, Optimizing the Video Game Multi-Jump (American Mathematical Monthly).

This article is about platformer video games where a character can jump, then magically start another jump in mid-air. The question is how to time the jumps so the character lands at a specific point (on a floating platform, for example). There are explicit solutions if the path of each jump is part of a parabola, as well as a discussion for more general, perhaps-fantastic jump shapes. I enjoyed the comments in this article about the way AI-controlled characters in specific games fail to make optimal decisions.

Tom Edgar and Jessica Sklar, A Confused Electrician Uses Smith Normal Form (Mathematics Magazine).

This article is about the type of puzzle where flipping a switch or pressing a button can turn multiple lights on or off, or rotate them through different colors. The goal is to find the right combination of button-presses that will turn all the lights on or off simultaneously. The analysis starts with graph theory, converts it to a problem involving matrices of integers, invokes the SageMath computer algebra system and a little bit of number theory, and ends with Smith normal form. Smith normal form is a beautiful way to factor matrices, but if you never restrict yourself to integer matrices, you probably haven't heard of it. It was the solution to a problem I ran into when I was writing my dissertation, and I've had a soft spot for it ever since.
ursula: Gules, a bear passant sable (bear)
[personal profile] yhlee asked how I got into "medieval looking illustrations".

The short answer is the SCA. The long answer is middle school... )

Of course I signed up for the calligraphy class as soon as I could. We learned italic and uncial, using dip pens. My first official project was the phrase "I am the cat who walks by himself, and all places are alike to me," from the Kipling story; it came out well except for an unfortunate ink blot.

Somewhere in there, I met [twitter.com profile] vandyhall. She was a year ahead of me and missing a lot of school because of illness, so we didn't encounter each other all that often, but I admired her greatly. In high school, we became actual friends and she drew me into the SCA. I knew the SCA was an opportunity to use my calligraphy & illumination skills--indeed, as a new SCA member my ambition was to become a C&I Laurel, though I ended up getting drawn into heraldry instead.

These days, I muddle along as an intermediate SCA scribe: I'm too confident in my art and research skills to count as a beginner, but not practiced enough and not knowledgeable enough about medieval materials to be anywhere near expert.
ursula: Sheep knitting, from the Alice books (sheep)
[personal profile] thistleingrey asked me to post something about fibercraft. (If you'd like to request a last-minute January journal post, you can do so here.)

I've been working on a cardigan for one of my nieces (hopefully the larger niece), using Kristen Rengren's Barberry pattern. Here are some progress pictures... )
ursula: Sheep knitting, from the Alice books (sheep)
Interests meme from [personal profile] bluebaron. Comment if you'd like me to choose interests for you to write about?

calabi-yau manifolds

These are the thing I research! They're particular higher-dimensional spaces that are flat in the sense that if you were inside one you would experience no gravitational force, but are curled in on themselves in complicated ways. Here's the picture everyone uses, and here's a slice I generated using a different equation. Calabi is the Italian mathematician who conjectured that these spaces should exist. Yau (my mathematical grandfather) proved they actually do.

medieval knitting

I've done a lot of knitting based on medieval objects (or seventeenth-century patterns), over the years. It's usually in the round, and finer than a lot of modern work. Here's my current project:

sion hawk bag

Those are size 1 needles (that my friend [twitter.com profile] vandyhall made out of brass rod), so it's fairly small knitting, though not nearly as tiny as the original, which is a silk relic pouch preserved in a church in Switzerland.

onomastics

This is the fancy way of saying "the study of names". What interests me about studying names is less the individual names, and more the fact that thinking about names in different times and places provides an excuse to learn about languages, culture, and the way they interact. I'm particularly nerdy about classical Greek and Roman and medieval Turkic/Turkish and Mongolian names, though I've picked up all sorts of things, over the years.
ursula: second-century Roman glass die (icosahedron)
Here is a D&D story for [personal profile] schneefink, who was wishing for some.

I learned about D&D from the acknowledgments to a Katherine Kerr novel when I was in fourth grade, but I didn't find people willing to play RPGs with me until high school. We mostly played White Wolf, since that was then the fashion; in particular, I GMed a lot of Mage.

My first serious D&D campaign was in college. Third edition was new and shiny! My character was named Angharad. She began the campaign as a very naive Lawful Good rogue; I reasoned that she came from a Thieves' Guild family, and had conformed to the expectation that she'd join the family business. She was moderately smart at the start of the campaign (INT 13 or 14, maybe), and we all started at seventh level. We encountered a strange temple that "balanced" our stats, though, so her intelligence went down and another stat went up, and because Angharad was exceedingly Lawful Good, I picked up a level in paladin. Then, through some rather awful failures in coordination, the entire party was killed by a mindflayer; upon resurrection, Angharad found herself with even less intelligence and missing one of those levels of rogue.

Finally, after maybe a semester of play (we spent a lot of time talking to people, and not very much killing monsters), Angharad earned a second paladin level, and became able to sense evil... at which point she learned that [livejournal.com profile] sildra's eponymous character had been lawful evil the entire time. "Sildra! You're evil?" is one of my favorite moments in excessive commitment to lawful goodness.

Smiting evil with a holy sword while simultaneously doing sneak-attack damage due to flanking is also pretty great, though.
ursula: bear eating salmon (Default)
[personal profile] eirias asked for quick--ideally, under 30 minutes including prep--recipes using beans (lentils, chickpeas, etc.). I have some ideas about the theory of this sort of cooking!

First, if a bean dish doesn't taste as good as you expect it to, the fault is almost certainly that there is either too little acid or too little salt. You need more salt than you expect, especially if you are someone like me who prefers a fairly light hand with salt generally. If you have salt, acid, and perhaps some cracked black pepper, you really don't need any other spices, though of course they can be interesting.

Acid usually comes from lemon juice, vinegar, or tomatoes, though there are interesting variations (I used to really like a black bean soup recipe out of Fields of Greens that used orange juice, for example). The taste of vinegar and tomatoes will change and deepen after a little bit of cooking. For vinegar, just a minute or two will often be enough. If you're working with canned tomatoes--and with this tight a time restriction, you probably should be--you should allow more time. Canned tomatoes really need to simmer for a little while to taste good. You can try adding a spoonful of sugar and rushing the simmering if you're in a hurry, but it won't be as tasty.

To minimize simmering time, you should use either dry lentils, canned beans, or maybe pre-cooked beans, if you're the kind of person who likes prepping food on weekends. (I personally might allow myself an hour and make chickpeas in the pressure cooker, but I'm working with a different set of constraints, one of which is an irrational aversion to canned beans and another of which is a health concern that prioritizes chickpeas.)

Basic Lentil Soup With A Green Thing

Rinse a cup or a cup and a half of dry lentils. Cover with an inch or two of water, add a bay leaf, and bring to a simmer.

Chop a couple of cloves of garlic. Fry them in some olive oil. Once they are aromatic, add a can of chopped tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer. (I would actually add the liquid from half a big can of plum tomatoes, chop half a can of plum tomatoes finely, and add them. I do this because I think pre-chopped canned tomatoes and pre-made tomato sauce both have weird textures. You probably don't care.)

Your green thing might be parsley, cilantro, fresh spinach, or frozen spinach. If it's not frozen, rinse and chop it now. You can use a lot of parsley or cilantro (maybe half a bunch).

Start tasting the lentils after twenty minutes. When they are cooked to your liking, pour off a bit of water if you like your soups on the stew side. Add a big pinch of salt. Mix the salt in, then dump the lentils and the remaining water in with the simmering tomatoes. Stir. Add frozen spinach now, if that's your green thing. Also add some pepper.

Let everything simmer together for five minutes. Taste it. If it's not salty enough, add salt; if the tomatoes taste sour (unlikely unless you rushed the tomato cooking time), add a teaspoonful of sugar; if it tastes unexpectedly bland, add a tablespoonful of lemon juice or vinegar and simmer for another minute. Scatter your green thing on top, if it's not already included.

Variations


  • Just dump a can of chickpeas or other beans in with the tomatoes, rather than messing with lentils.
  • Add grated ginger and/or chopped green onion with the garlic.
  • More spices: a teaspoon of cinnamon, cumin, and/or coriander, half a teaspoon of powdered ginger, powdered cayenne to taste (start with 1/4 teaspoon if you're cautious, 1/2-1 teaspoon if you're not).
  • Or if you want more heat, just add a spoonful of sambal oelek with the garlic.
  • I omitted onion because of the time constraint, but you can absolutely chop an onion and fry it in some oil, either prior to adding the garlic, or in a separate pan if prep time is more important to you than dishes.
  • Use frozen kale or chard as your green thing (this will require a longer simmering time after the vegetables are added).
  • Romaine lettuce is mostly green. Just saying.
  • Does your garden have runaway mint? Strip the leaves and add big handfuls of mint!
  • Use frozen corn kernels or cubes of cooked squash or pumpkin instead of a green thing.
  • Add Moroccan-style salt-preserved lemon when you combine the beans and tomatoes.
  • Make your own croutons! Preheat your oven to 400° F or so, chop some stale fancy bread into cubes, put it in a pan, drizzle it with oil, mix it around, and throw it in the oven until it gets crispy. This is especially good with chickpea soup. You can freeze the heels of loaves for just this purpose.

icon meme

Jan. 24th, 2019 09:38 pm
ursula: second-century Roman glass die (icosahedron)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k asked about my icosahedron icon.

My icon is this Roman die, which sold at auction in 2003. I've definitely seen other people who made icons based on the news stories that came out around that time! I found a couple of similar artifacts while I was poking around for this one's provenance: here's an earlier Roman Egyptian icosahedron die in the Met, and here's a collection of Roman bronze dodecahedra with an icosahedron.

I usually use this icon for math or rpg posts, though I suppose it would work for classics posts, too.

Comment if you would like me to ask you about one (or more) of your icons!
ursula: Gules, a bear passant sable (bear)
Here are some big-picture notes on interactions between modern choices and SCA personas, as requested by [personal profile] sciatrix.

If you'd like to suggest a topic for me to post about in January, you can do so here. There is still a lot of January left, so I'd be happy to take more suggestions!

What is an SCA persona?

If you ask someone in the SCA about their persona, they'll usually tell you something about time, place, and maybe social class. My persona is a woman from a senatorial family in sixth-century Merovingian Gaul, [personal profile] glasseye's is a Breton moneyer from 1344, [twitter.com profile] vandyhall's is a nomadic Magyar, and Hark's persona is some sort of Viking, to give some example personas for people who often appear in this journal.

In practice, a persona is less of a character and more of an organizing principle. If you're choosing a new name, making a nice outfit, upgrading your armor, writing a story or poem, or planning a ceremony to take on a new student, you'll likely think about what your persona might have done. Most people in the SCA don't go around speaking "in persona", though, except in a few very formal contexts. The focus tends to be on making things, rather than on acting.

People vary a lot in their dedication to persona development. At one end of the scale are people interested in full-on historical reenactment, who try to spend as much of an SCA event as possible doing things their persona might have done. At the other end you find people who haven't really thought about persona at all, or who have given up on finding commonalities among their disparate interests.

Factors that people typically consider when choosing a persona include their own family history, pre-existing historical or geographic interests, activities they enjoy within the SCA (rapier fighters often want later-period personas, for example), what they want to wear, and their friends' or families' personas. My very first SCA persona was "early Breton", for example, because I was studying French, had learned to draw Celtic knotwork, and had a group of friends whose personas were from somewhere in the British Isles. (There was an associated silly story about how the fictional father of myself and [twitter.com profile] anniebellet had been murdered by guppies, that is, drowned in a pool containing them; I ought to look up the history of guppy domestication sometime.)

What drives regional variation in persona choices?

Two overarching drivers of regional variation are people's family backgrounds and the weather. In the US and Canada (and presumably in Lochac, which is the SCA kingdom encompassing Australia and New Zealand), variation due to family background generally involves patterns of immigration in more recent history: I meet more people with German or Eastern European personas in the Midwestern United States than I did when I lived in the Pacific Northwest, for example. Weather matters directly because many SCA events take place outside, and if you're choosing a persona based on what you want to wear, you're going to think about what will be comfortable in your local climate.

"Many SCA events take place outside" is a huge generalization, though, and at this point we're getting into what SCA people call "Inter-Kingdom Anthropology", that is, the discussion of the way local SCA culture varies depending on what kingdom you're in. Kingdoms are the biggest SCA administrative regions. I've lived in An Tir (the US Pacific Northwest and part of Canada), Caid (southern California and Nevada), Northshield (Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Dakotas, Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and parts of Canada again), and the Midrealm (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, most of Kentucky, and tiny bits of Iowa and Ontario).

What a normal SCA event looks like varies hugely depending on the kingdom. In An Tir, there are a few big hotel events that feel rather like science fiction conventions, but most events are weekend camping events, running from spring into September or October. It can be frustrating to be an SCA member in An Tir if you dislike camping. In Caid, there are a few camping events, but a typical event is a day in a Los Angeles-area city park: people set up in the morning, hold a tournament, socialize, and then maybe go out to dinner afterwards. Northshield is really spread out, and really cold for a lot of the year; active SCA participation in Northshield involves a ton of driving, and also a fair amount of socializing in hotels after events. The Midrealm is close to Pennsic, the SCA "war" in western Pennsylvania that draws about ten thousand people for a week or two every summer, and planning for/participating in/recovering from Pennsic drives a lot of Midrealm SCA activity.

Vikings: a case study

In 2003, I started grad school in An Tir, and [personal profile] glasseye moved from the Midrealm to An Tir to live with me. At that point, fourteenth-century French and German personas were a really big deal in the Midrealm. They meshed well with the Midrealm's culture, because romantic ideas about knighthood and fealty fit in well with a kingdom culture that was very focused on building fighting units and preparing for Pennsic War. Also, there was a density of merchants at Pennsic selling fourteenth-century stuff, so it was easy for someone to get started on a nice fourteenth-century persona. An Tir had lots of pirates (the Pirates of the Caribbean movies were just coming out, and weekend camping events where lots of people are drinking are highly compatible with pretending to be a pirate). But it was beginning to have lots of Vikings, as well. There were multiple factors driving adoption of Norse personas in An Tir: there are lots of people with Scandinavian heritage in that part of the world, Norse clothing is very practical for camping events where it might be rainy and cold or very warm, and the local fighting culture was focused on individual prowess in a way that played well with references to the sagas. Also, it was just starting to be possible to find detailed information about Norse material culture from stuff that Scandinavian researchers and reenactors were putting on the internet.

The huge and sustained popularity of Vikings in An Tir meant that it became easier and easier to have a Norse persona in the SCA, generally: there are lots of costuming blogs, experts in particular times and places, people who have translated resources from Swedish or Norwegian, etc. The trend started expanding to different kingdoms. Vikings were big in Northshield when I lived there, and they're a huge deal in the Midrealm now. The Midrealm Vikings are, again, focused around Pennsic: there are multiple households founded by charismatic fighters, some of whom used to have fourteenth-century personas, but now maintain warbands, emphasize ring-giving, and so on and so forth.
ursula: Sheep knitting, from the Alice books (sheep)
spinach tagine and carrot salad

For dinner tonight, I made lamb tagine with spinach, and spicy carrot salad.

I recently acquired one of the trendy modern pressure cookers known as an Instant Pot; I often cook from Madhur Jaffrey's Quick and Easy Indian Cooking, which has a lot of pressure-cooker recipes, so I knew I had a likely use case. I've been experimenting with it, figuring out what sorts of recipes can be adapted efficiently. This tagine, from Paula Wolfert's book The Food of Morocco, is perfect for adaptation: the meat cooks slowly and the vegetables are added right at the very end, so you don't have to mess around with releasing the pressure partway through.

I used storebought organic lemons that I'd salt-preserved myself. They're good, but they're not as good as salt-preserved, home-grown lemons. If you live in a lemon-growing state of the US and would like to trade a package of lemons for a package of things like dried cherries and maple syrup, say the word!

My adaptation of the recipe )
ursula: bear eating salmon (Default)
ursula: Gules, a bear passant sable (bear)
[personal profile] tinuvielchild asked me to post about onomastic research methods, specifically in the context of raw data for fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Bohemian names.

(If you want to suggest a topic for me to post about in January, you can do so here.)

The first step is to find out what is already known. The Medieval Names Archive section on Czech and Slovak is pretty minimal, and there's nothing relevant in the sca.org name articles collection. You can also check old Academy of Saint Gabriel reports. I would use the advanced search tool to look for Bohemia, setting the "restriction" field to "anything" in order to turn up reports with the word "Bohemian" in them as well. There are actually quite a few hits for Bohemia. I would start with the highest-numbered reports and work backwards, checking the bibliographies to see if anything useful shows up. Indeed, there are references to two books by Ernst Schwarz whose titles start Sudetendeutsche Familiennamen and which appear to include data on Bohemian names. One of these books is available on abebooks.com for about $70 plus $10 shipping from Germany; I haven't checked Amazon or other bookfinding sites. (Both books are also in my university library, which means you could likely get someone close to you to work magic via ILL, or ask me to borrow one and let you pet it, if we're likely to be in the same place at some point.)

The other key part of finding out what's already known is to talk to experts. In this case, your likely experts are going to be Aelfwynn (who knows lots of stuff about German names, and lives in Drachenwald), and ffride (whose expertise includes working stuff out about Slavic names, and who lives in Lochac). Maybe one of them has been sitting on data that they would love to share with you! They may also know some language-specific search tricks.

What if you just want to browse around for raw data? Stream of consciousness as I explain some Google tricks! )

I want to emphasize that you don't actually have to know an entire language to browse like this. Being able to pick out names and dates is enough to get started! However, you should be aware that names in some languages, including Latin, change form depending on their grammatical function in a sentence.
ursula: Gules, a bear passant sable (bear)
[personal profile] sporky_rat asked for, "More information on the basics of onomastics on the not-English and not-French. Like Spanish names. How does one find the general usual rules for a woman's name in Christian Spain, 1500's?"

(If you'd like to suggest a topic for me to post about in January, the collection of questions is here.)

If you want basic information about medieval name construction in a reasonably popular European language, the place to start is SENA Appendix A. ("SENA" stands for "Standards for Evaluation of Names and Armory".) There's some general information about abbreviations at the beginning of the appendix, and then tables for different languages. The tables are grouped by big geographical regions; you may have to use the search function in your browser, or scroll a bit, to find the exact culture you're interested in. Castilian Spanish is in the Iberian table.

The table has columns for different types of name structures that often show up in medieval documents: Double Given Names, Locative, Patronymic, Other relationship (such as relationships to mothers, siblings, or spouses), Descriptive/Occupational, Dictus (for "also known as" names), and Double Bynames. The final column, Order, tells you how different types of name were typically combined.

Underneath the table, there are notes. The notes may explain more complicated constructions. For example, the notes for Spanish suggest some ways to form a name based on the father's name. Usually, the notes also link to one or two articles that provide a more detailed discussion.

You can also find information on medieval names from specific cultures by going to The Medieval Names Archive or the heraldry.sca.org name articles page and following links for the culture you're interested in. However, for popular cultures there may be quite a few links to wade through. Appendix A is supposed to highlight the articles that an expert would check first.

Maintaining Appendix A is one of my jobs as the SCA's Palimpsest Herald, so if you have questions about how to use it, or are particularly pining for more detail on a specific culture, let me know!
ursula: Gules, a bear passant sable (bear)
[personal profile] yhlee asked me to post about adapting medieval recipes to modern recipes.

The SCA slang for this process is "redacting" recipes. There are a couple of things you can do to prepare. The first is to cook medieval food from recipes other people have redacted. I like the recipes page at Medieval Cookery, which is consistent about including the medieval recipe along with the redaction. I've also cooked a lot from The Madrone Culinary Guild's pamphlets and The Medieval Kitchen: Recipes from France and Italy. (A friend of mine actually learned to cook from this book, because it was the only cookbook she owned as an undergrad.)

More advice, and a walkthrough redaction! )
ursula: black rabbit (plotbunny)
For Yuletide, I retold A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet in the persona of Chaucer from Chaucer Hath a Blog:

The Pelerins Progress, or a Long Wei to a Smalle Angri Islet (1220 words) by UrsulaKohl
Fandom: Wayfarers Series - Becky Chambers, Chaucer Hath a Blog | Chaucer Doth Tweet
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Rosemary Harper/Sissix Seshkethet, Lovey/Jenks (Wayfarers Series)
Characters: Rosemary Harper, Sissix Seshkethet, Lovey (Wayfarers Series), Jenks (Wayfarers Series), Geoffrey Chaucer, Corbin (Wayfarers Series), Ohan (Wayfarers Series)
Additional Tags: Middle English, Pilgrimage, Miracles of Saint Isidore, Crossover, Geometry is magic
Summary:

Chaucer hath a blog wherein he revieweth manye grete workes of literature. A Long Wei to a Smalle Angri Islet is a tale of faythe and love most fitting to thys seasoun.



[archiveofourown.org profile] ofunaq had asked separately for Chaucer's retelling of some famous story (maybe Star Wars) and for more of the relationship between Rosemary and Sissix, so of course the best thing to do was to combine them. Small Angry Planet has an episodic structure which works very naturally with medieval storytelling rhythms. I also got to compare Rosemary/Sissix to "the love of the engels and cherubynnes"!

I beta-read two stories that do neat things with structure and point of view. A Quickstart Guide to Voynich RPG by [personal profile] yhlee is light-hearted horror in the shape of an RPG manual. Correspondence by [personal profile] isis is the monster's half of the story from Shaenon Garrity's "To Whatever", with accompanying translator's notes.
ursula: bear eating salmon (Default)
Most books read by one author this year?

Likely Martha Wells, followed by David Kilcullen.

Favorite new author you discovered this year?

Vina Jie-Min Prasad, if we're not counting David Kilcullen again.

Did you read any books in translation?

Yes: I read a volume of The Florentine Codex, translated from Spanish and Nahuatl, as well as lots of smaller pieces of things here and there, and half of A Small Corner of Hell, translated from Russian.

Nine books you will associate with this year?

Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan, Why Civil Resistance Works
Aliette de Bodard, In the Vanishers' Palace
Stathis Kalyvas, The Logic of Violence in Civil War
David Kilcullen, Out of the Mountains
Yoon Ha Lee, Revenant Gun
Nancy Marchant, Knitting Fresh Brioche
Anna Politkovskaya, A Small Corner of Hell (the Chechnya half)
Hannu Rajaniemi, Summerland
Sofia Samatar, Tender

Three books you are excited to read next year?

David Bowles, Flower, Song, Dance: Aztec and Mayan Poetry
Amelia Hoover Green, The Commanders' Dilemma
Arkady Martine, A Memory Called Empire
ursula: bear eating salmon (Default)
100 SF/F books James Davis Nicoll thinks you should consider reading, by way of various people.

The books on this list that I know I've read but can't remember anything about are all 1990s lesbian-inflected cyberpunk. I'm surprised that Lisa Mason's Arachne, a book about an angry lawyer and a falling-apart robot that reads a little bit like a forerunner of Max Gladstone, isn't also on the list.

100 books )

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