The Martian

Dec. 2nd, 2015 10:06 pm
schneefink: Babylon 5 (Bab5)
I watched the "The Martian" in the cinema today. I went alone, because everyone I asked had either seen it already or didn't have time today and afaik it was one of the last times they're showing it in Vienna in English. I still had a good time :) I wanted to see it on a bigger screen because I was hoping for pretty Mars pictures. Which I got, but because it was one of the last showings the screen was unfortunately small for a cinema.

I read the book about a week ago. It's very technical at times, very funny at times, has very good character sketches and is an excellent basis for h/c fic.

Then I read fic, some of which I really enjoyed: #BringHimHome, i'm coming home, Look At Those Cavemen Go!, Nunquam te tradam and others – I'm too lazy to do a proper rec post rn.

Then, the movie! I enjoyed it. [personal profile] lannamichaels has a good post pointing out some of the differences between the book and the movie. I also really liked the short bonus videos on youtube.

Spoilers )
schneefink: (ahsoka)
Yeah, that break between books that I wanted to take to do something more productive didn't happen. I read book 4 today, and THINGS happened. Whoa.

Spoilers )

There are six more books!, a lot more to come, but this is a good stopping point for now.
schneefink: (ahsoka)
[personal profile] frith_in_thorns and [personal profile] sholio recently recommended the "Shadows of the Apt" books by Adrian Tchaikovsky (here and here), and because I know they have good taste and because for some reason I thought another distraction from all the things I should be doing would be a good idea, I started reading them. I've read the first three books, "Empire of Black and Gold", "Dragonfly Falling", and "Blood of the Mantis", and I enjoyed them.

Spoilers )
schneefink: (FF Kaylee excited)
Hi! Thank you very much for writing a story for me! :D

General Likes and Dislikes )

Soviet Hockey Players RPF
Characters: Alexei Kasatonov, Slava Fetisov

If you don't know what it is: They were some of the best hockey players in history, and some of them hated their coach. )

Prompt: The great betrayal )


The Steerswoman series – Rosemary Kirstein
Characters: Rowan, Bel, Willam

If you don't know what it is: A fascinating SFF series currently at 4 books )

Prompt: (post)book 4 fic )


Krabat | The Satanic Mill – Otfried Preußler

If you don't know what it is: a myth-based novel about the apprentices to an evil sorcerer )

Prompt: trapped )
schneefink: (Feldgatter)
I watched the first two periods of the Penguins-Stars game yesterday. (The stream sucked & for the first time I'm considering a paid option. Not sure it'll be worth it though because I watch live games so rarely. Maybe once I have a job.)
The game was fun! Mostly, except the goals against, and some stupid mistakes. Checking Twitter during the game was definitely a mistake, it's like an echo chamber for everything negative. I enjoy complaining about things/players during games too, just for me or with a friend, but on Twitter it's just too much pessimism, even when I technically agree with almost everything people are saying.

The game started at 2:30 am and I had to get up today at 7am for a debating workshop with school students. I was planning to sleep yesterday afternoon, but then I read A Red-Rose Chain instead because I'm weak. The new plan is to sleep now, because (if I can reach AV – pick up your phone, dammit) we're planning to finally watch Bab5 again tonight!

A Red-Rose Chain )
schneefink: (Feldgatter)
The Pens' season opener is tonight! I'll most likely watch it, even though I have to get up earlier tomorrow for school debating. But it's the season opener! I'll be fine, I'll borrow my roommate's coffee machine.
(Have I mentioned that the third roommate moved in last week? I think it'll work well.)

I actually did one or two things today, like shopping, but I also had time to read.

One Salt Sea )

Ashes of Honor )

Chimes at Midnight )

The Winter Long )
schneefink: (Feldgatter)
Yesterday I visited the garden&park around Schönbrunn castle with a friend. I hadn't been there for months if not years, but suddenly it's only twenty minutes away. I should go more often! It's beautiful. Yesterday was still surprisingly sunny and warm, and there are even still roses blooming.

What else did I do the past few days: listen to Hamilton some more, and read a lot. I like the "I really enjoyed the books" view better than "I really did not want to do any work", but they're probably at least equally true.

Rosemary and Rue )

A Local Habitation )

An Artificial Light )

Late Eclipses )
schneefink: (Feldgatter)
Doctor Who 9.02: The Witch's Apprentice
Spoilers )


The Sons of Thestian, by M.E. Vaughan
I read this because of a Tumblr rec & good goodreads reviews. That was a mistake. 90% of the book is boring and then it has a great ending, which is wasted because the buildup didn't work. Shame. Spoilers )
schneefink: picture of Relena looking at the viewer (GW Relena)
I went to a hockey game today! The first game Vienna's women's team, the Sabres, played in Vienna this season, afaik. (The announcer didn't know how to pronounce "sabre"...) A 4:0 win against Zürich, nice. The Sabres have some very good players, I especially noticed Meixner, Kanthor and Casorso. Unfortunately none of my hockey-interested friends had time, it'd be even more fun with company. I think I accidentally sat in the Zürich section of the stands, where almost no-one was, and then I was too lazy to move so I didn't talk to anyone. Not even during intermission, because I was finishing the fourth Steerswoman book.

I really enjoyed The Language of Power. Spoilers )

There are very few fics on AO3 so far, sadly. My timing is good, Yuletide nominations are open.
schneefink: (Feldgatter)
It was technically the second pre-season game, but the game the Pens played yesterday featured most of their stars and kind of felt like the first. It was a lot of fun! I only watched a part of the first period and got to see goals by Tanger and Olli. 7-3 overall, and Phil scored two goals. (Apparently more reporters wanted to talk to Phil than to Sid, this is probably not working out as Phil hoped *g* man it's great to see him smiling so much.) I can barely wait for the start of the regular season.
Me: Tanger with four points, Olli with a goal… Good game :)
DD: though I'm paranoid about guys with a history of injuries/illnesses starting the season with a 4 points game. (but it's the preseason so hopefully it doesn't count.)
Me: WHY WOULD YOU REMIND ME OF THAT
DD: do you really think I enjoy suffering alone? Hell yes I'm gonna share thoughts like that.
Ah, fandom friendships <3

Someone on Tumblr posted a Wait For It, a song from the new musical "Hamilton." As I sometimes do with songs I really like and/or can't get out of my head, I listened to it on a loop for hours. "Life doesn't discriminate/between the sinners and the saints/it takes and it takes and it takes…"
[personal profile] naye recced the musical and linked to an audio version. I just listened to Act I and I really liked it. I was a bit worried audio only would be confusing - I'm generally not good at telling voices apart, or at least not at remembering which voice belongs to whom – but it was surprisingly clear, I could understand the words well and follow the action (I'm pretty sure.) The lyrics are very good, especially the rhymes, and overall the music is excellent. I'm looking forward to Act 2 (though I've heard it's a bit sadder so it might have to wait a few days.)

I read "The Lost Steersman", the third Steerswoman book, and I liked it a lot. Spoilers )

Blackhawks )
schneefink: picture of Relena looking at the viewer (GW Relena)
I had heard about the Steerswoman series by Rosemary Kirstein before and finally bought it because it was on sale (and still is until Sunday, info here.)
I wasn't very impressed by the first book: it was solid, but very slow, and if it was fic I most likely wouldn't have finished. It had some interesting elements, but overall it felt a bit bland. Spoilers )

I bought the second book, "The Outskirter's Secret", because it was cheap, but I ended up enjoying it a lot. It also has a lot of travel, but this time, because we're getting to know a completely new ecosystem and culture and because we know at least a vague shape of the overall plot, it's actually interesting. Spoilers )

The worldbuilding is interesting. Two things especially stand out: the magic, and the steerswomen. Spoilers )

I'm definitely going to read the next books, and I'm looking forward to them.

As an aside, one advantage of reading books instead of fic (I have all original novels labeled on my ebook reader as "origfic") is that there are new characters and also that I can ask for stories for Yuletide. One disadvantage is that I have to pay for them, I think I'll soon need a monthly book budget because buying ebooks is deceptively easy.
schneefink: (Fleury)
[personal profile] myrdschaem reminded me that I was still in the middle of reading "The Great Game. The Montréal Canadiens, the Red Army, and the Night That Saved Hockey" by Todd Denault. I'd stopped reading for a few weeks, in hindsight mostly because I was in the middle of the chapter that introduces the villain and explains how they (almost) ruin everything. In this case, the Philadelphia Flyers.
(Of course I know that the current Flyers are not the Broad Street Bullies anymore – last season the Pens had a lot more PIMs than the Flyers, for example – but their history does not help my already existing dislike of the team.)

The "Great Game" mentioned in the title is the New Year's Eve game between the Montréal Canadiens and the Soviet Red Army club in 1975, according to Denault one of the best games ever played. Here it is on youtube; I haven't watched all of it yet and of course the quality is much worse than what I'm used to, but it is a very pretty game.

Denault tells the history of the Canadiens since the 1960s, plus some history of other important players and teams, which of course includes the Red Army team. Things I learned about Habs history: Sam Pollock, Habs GM in the 60s and 70s, and Scotty Bowman, the Habs' coach in the 70s, were geniuses. The Habs also had an excellent scouting staff. Their team in the 70s that won four Cups in a row(!) was simply stacked with world-class talent and is most likely one of the best teams in history.

It was neat to suddenly get some context for some names I'd heard here and there before: Guy LaFleur, Ken Dryden… Bobby Hull appears as an advocate against violence in hockey, which was weird since I only knew of him as a Chicago Blackhawks ambassador who abused his wives. Bobby Clarke appeared, who I only knew as the asshole who deliberately injured Kharlamov's ankle. Turns out he was a leader of the Broad Street Bullies in Philly and in general an asshole who loved to chirp players on opposing teams because he knew they wouldn't attack him because they were afraid of his violent teammates.
Denault does a good job introducing different players and and people and making them all interesting.

The larger story behind the game that Denault focuses on is the debate about violence in hockey. Cut for graphic depictions of violence. )

In Denault's narrative the Flyers are the bad guys and the Canadiens the good guys, but to be honest he didn't have to try hard to sell it. Even the Russian players admired the Canadiens very much, but disliked the Flyers and hated their style of hockey. Denault made it very clear that the Flyers' victory over the CSKA in January 1976 didn't really count because the Flyers were out to hurt people and of course the Soviets didn't want to risk injuries in a for them meaningless game.
The good guys win when the Habs win the Stanley Cup against the Flyers in 1976 and then again in the next three years, which led to a renewed focus on skill and speed etc. in hockey instead of violence. Looking at the game even today, I shudder to think what it would look like had the Flyers won more Cups in the 1970s.

In conclusion, I liked the book a lot and would recommend it to anyone interested in hockey history.
schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (Default)
The Lego Movie: I saw this one on the bus to Prague, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. Entertaining and not too stupid.

Student of the Year: [personal profile] tanndell promised a completely over-the-top ~dramatic movie and it did not disappoint. Extreme idfic in movie form. It was entertaining; I'm not sure how much I would have enjoyed it on my own, but with company it was great.

Princess Mononoke: I love "Spirited Away" and I'd been planning to watch Princess Mononoke for years. Unfortunately I didn't like it as much. Spoilers )

The 100, episodes 1-7: I made the tactical mistake to watch them together with DD. On the one hand it's fun to watch it together, on the other hand now it means I have to wait until we both have time to continue… On a related note, it's been almost three months since we last watched Bab5 -.-
I was warned that the first few episodes are less good, so I had low expectations, but I liked them. Episode 7 was the first one that really annoyed me.Spoilers" )

Simon Kirby-Jones mysteries by Dean James: DD recommended these to me as the only vampire books that she likes. They're good 10pm-books: entertaining and very easy to read, I enjoyed them. Spoilers )

Handcuffed to the Bear by Lauren Esker: Supernatural romance, not usually something I look for. Okay, not quite true, I read a lot of it, but usually all fanfic. Because I already know how to find what I want, and it's free and convenient. But this one is by [personal profile] sholio, one of my favorite fic writers who I know writes excellent h/c and lost-in-the-wilderness stories, and she had a promotion, so I decided to check it out despite the to me not at all appealing blurb. (And despite the fact that I don't have a Kindle. I now have a PC app because amazon didn't let me just download the file. Stupid.)
I'm glad I did! The book has the same good stuff I loved in her fic, with a bonus romance that (apart from one moment early on where I couldn't help but think that now was really not the moment to think about her gorgeous eyes) felt quite natural. I liked the worldbuilding, though it does require suspension of disbelief similarly to many urban fantasy books - seriously, shifters have been around for centuries, there's an official government agency even, and the general public doesn't know about them?
She also did a great job introducing the main character for the sequel, and I'm looking forward to that as well.
schneefink: (Feldgatter)
Two books: "Raising Steam" by Terry Pratchett, which took me weeks to get through, and "Uprooted" by Naomi Novik, which I read in one day and into the night because I couldn't put it down.

Raising Steam:
I recently saw "Raising Steam" in a bookshop and had to buy it immediately – a Discworld novel I didn't know, that I hadn't even heard about? (That last part was especially strange.) It's the story of how trains arrive on Discworld. It took me a long time to read, and not because I didn't have the time. It just wasn't particularly gripping. Interesting, yes, but there was very little plot.more spoilery details )

I don't regret buying "Raising Steam" because it's neat to see Ankh-Morpork develop further, but it's definitely not among my favorite Discworld books and not one I'll reread often.

Uprooted:
I bought Uprooted on a rec by [personal profile] cofax7 (slight spoilers.) (Incidentally, that was the first book I actually paid for on my ebook-reader, before that it was only fic.) I only started it yesterday because I didn't have the time before and was afraid I wouldn't be able to stop halfway through, and of course exactly that happened and I stayed up way later than I wanted. Worth it though.

I don't remember the last time a book kept surprising me like this. Every few chapters almost it went into a different direction than I'd expected, which made the whole story very exciting and compelling. Yet it never seemed disjointed or chaotic or confusing, major kudos.

I really liked the setting. It wasn't drastically different from "mainstream" fantasy – wizards and kings and the dark Wood – but it was enough its own thing not to look like a copy. In many ways it seemed a bit like fantasy!Poland, I thought that was very cool. I was glad I had a friend named Agnieszka once so I knew how to pronounce it (it's only mentioned in the afterword.)

The writing is very good. Some really great images.

spoilery details )

The Rifter

Apr. 12th, 2015 02:19 pm
schneefink: picture of Relena looking at the viewer (GW Relena)
The last few days DD said that she wanted to avoid any news about the NHL and Pens in particular. When I asked how she was planning to do that, because I knew I wouldn't manage, she recommended me a book (series): "The Rifter" by Ginn Hale. I enjoyed it a lot!

Spoilers )
schneefink: Babylon 5 (Bab5)
I finally read Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie and I enjoyed it a lot.Read more... )

I got the recommendation for this book from my flist, so: people who've read Ancillary Sword, can you recommend the sequel?
schneefink: Teyla and Sora with drinks, laughing (SGA Teyla and Sora cheerful)
Merry Christmas, or whatever other holiday you celebrate! I hope you all have a great time :)

It's 2am and my head is a bit fluffy, so I'm not sure how much sense this makes. I just made chocolate muffins at 1am for a birthday brunch tomorrow.

I have my Christmas presents prepared, except for the wrapping. I was late this year, I got two of them today, but whatever.

I watched parts of the first period of the Pens vs. Tampa game that DD is attending in person (so envious!) Originally I wanted to watch the whole game, but I'm very tired so I'll see. 0-3 so far, but at least not as badly outplayed as they could be considering the Pens' ridiculous injury list. I'll be happy to escape with nobody hurt. (But anything can happen!)
Now Flower is being pulled. It it wasn't his fault, and back-to-backs are brutal anyway.
At least the game looks entertaining! I'm going to ask DD for a detailed report.
Edit: 0-4. Let's just get at least one goal tonight, 'kay?

Tomorrow there's MSZ's birthday brunch and then dinner and then singing and then presents. Yuletide should go online sometime around midnight, right? The smart thing would probably be to go to bed early and then wake up earlier on Thursday because I won't be able to sleep long anyway, I just doubt I'll manage. Depends on which books I'll get. I've never not gotten a book for Christmas :)

I already have a long list with ideas for stories for The Maze Runner, and I feel more confident about maybe actually writing them than I have in a long time about prompts. Maybe it's because I wrote a lot in December, but I think it's also that the canon seems "easy" in comparison to the last two I wrote (Young Avengers and Hockey RPF): it's just one movie without a huge background, and the characters are fictional so you can make up whatever backstory you want.
But who knows, maybe I'll have abandoned all of them in two weeks.


For the December meme, a question by [personal profile] topaz119: Tell me about your favorite books from your childhood.

I did a 10 books that have stayed with you post once, and many of them are from my childhood. Depending on how you define childhood (up to about 14 in this case, maybe?), all of them except #9.

I read a LOT when I was a kid. I used to go to the library about every second week with a shopping trolley filled with books, and sometimes that wasn't enough space. We went on vacation with a huge bag full of books, especially when we visited my grandparents and I borrowed twenty books from my aunt at the same time.

I read basically everything I could get my hands on. Once I found an author I liked I tried to read everything by them that I could find and then switch to the next one. For example for a while I read a lot of Wolfgang Hohlbein, then Agatha Christie and Edgar Wallace, and a bit later I had a Marion Zimmmer Bradley phase.

One of the earliest of these phases was when I discovered Karl May. He's very popular in Germany and Austria, but I don't think he's well known elsewhere. He wrote (fictional) travel novels (that are basically Mary Sue self-insert fic), the majority of which took place in the Old West and the Orient. I still know the names of his horses (Rih, Hatatitla, and Winnetou's was Iltschi) and of his companions (like Hadschi Halef Omar Ben Hadschi Abul Abbas Ibn Hadschi Dawuhd al Gossarah).

Some aspects of the books are problematic, some just aren't that good, but they were very good idfic and wow were they great for self-insert fantasies. The existence of Kolma Puschi made up for the death of Nscho-tschi, so my avatar merrily rode through the Old West saving Old Shatterhand and Winnetou from the Comanches (the books were also good for h/c.)
schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (Default)
My laptop is becoming slower and slower. I knew that, but today it took over half an hour to start, so I'm finally at the "I really should do something about this"-point where I might actually do something. Any repair attempts might be complicated by the fact that I'm pretty sure I lost the password for the admin account. Oops. I definitely need to back up my data asap. (Tomorrow. Today I forgot.)

I made egg and dairy free chocolate muffins this weekend for a friend and the texture turned out nicer than with the regular ones. I'll have to experiment a bit. I'm pretty sure nobody will complain.

I read "Breakaway" by Andre Conte today, a book about the Penguins ~2005-2009. It's an interesting read, with a lot of background stuff I hadn't really thought about. That must have sucked, to play for a team that you know has great potential but not being sure if they'll have to relocate. (The chapter about the 2008 trade deadline made me grin. Marian Hossa was a nice throw-in in the Pascal Dupuis trade.)

I'm finally getting into a bit of a rhythm with studying - HabitRPG is pretty useful sometimes - and now I have a busy week, unfortunate timing. Next weekend is choir practice for two and a half days: I love singing in the choir, but that's a bit much. It'll be fine.
schneefink: (Kaylee with umbrella shiny)
About two weeks ago [personal profile] frith_in_thorns recommended I read the Vorkosigan Saga books, and then I did little else for a week or so and enjoyed myself immensely.

What I love about them:
- I love the worldbuilding so much. The wormholes, the Time of Isolation, the roles of the different planets; how it all has a history and everything has reasons and develops and there's so much politics and economics and pure chance involved, tech develops and society develops and different planets have different cultures but they all influence each other, but in different ways - it's extremely well done.
--Spaceships! Space pirates mercenaries, -battles, -politics!
- All of the books have great plots, things develop from point A to point B and C in ways you can follow but not predict, there are always multiple things going on and you always know as much as you need to; some of the books reminded me of the best kind of detective stories the way it all fit together.
- Politics are important and messy and influence everything, when you have a fleet you need to think about accounting and political ramifications, it's always there in the back- or foreground and it's beautifully done.
- Everything that happens has consequences, good or bad, there's no reset button but it doesn't just stay there, things develop further.
- The duty and loyalty themes, yum, I love it.
- Character development, character relationship development and building, characters growing up and into and out of roles, drifting together or apart, being changed by what happens and changing what happens, characters generally being alive.
- The Crowning Moments of Awesome are often great.

I started with Miles' books and have now read all of them except Dreamweavers's Dilemma, the framing story of Borders of Infinity, and I still haven't finished Barrayar because I know how many unpleasant things are going to happen and I'm not in the mood.

Some of my favorite books: Vor Game, Memory, ... )

Favorite characters:Gregor, Mark, Miles, Cordelia, Ivan, Alys... )

Of course the first thing I did after reading the books was look for fic. Good news: there are a lot of very good stories! (And it's still Yuletide-eligible this year. This year I'll finally sign up for Yuletide, I swear.) Not a lot of complete AUs (unsurprisingly), not a lot of porn (also doesn't surprise me very much), very good tie-in and background fic. I have a list of stories I want to rec, but not today otherwise I'll never finish this.
(Originally I thought I'd wait to post this until I finished Barrayar, but I don't know when that'll be and I'm procrastinating on finances.)

In conclusion: great series, will definitely recommend it :)
schneefink: (FF River and Kaylee)
I just read Rick Riordan's "House of Hades". (I read the other books in the series out of order and over the course of several years, so I don't remember all the details.)

I enjoyed it more than I expected. I also haven't had a stronger wish to see a cast genderbent than this one in ages.

almost no spoilers )

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