commonplace blog

Came across this in my research for New Dresden Blues—it’s an excellent, thorough breakdown of the formula for a typical mystery novel. I think people tend to sneer at “formulaic” stories (romance is another good example), and I think that has a lot to do with the kind of genre snobbery that makes me gnash my teeth and go off on rants about low culture and bookstore ghettoization, so we’ll leave that be for now. Ultimately, though, familiarity with different story structures can only be a good thing. Formula exists for a reason, in that it is often the most recognizable and coherent form a story can take. If you’re going to break formula (and everyone does in some way!) it should be because your decision enhances the story, not out of elitism or some nonsense.

I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein. (via riverran)

#mary shelley #this quote though #it’s all kinds of wonderful #hey remember that time one asswipe was like you have 30 seconds to name something invented by a woman… #…and Mary was like SCIENCE FICTION MOTHERFUCKERS #that was awesome #thanks Mary Shelley (via snappily)

And the next time someone starts claiming that teenage girls have ruined the horror genre with romance or whatever you can be like, hey dicksmack, teenage girls and romance built your genre so sit the fuck down.

(via sharpestrose)

compulsive auto reblog

i want this tattooed on me at some point

(via nova-bright)

Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book

Welcome, gentle readers! Not being a quote-oriented person in general, I have nonetheless located for you the best passage from the most quotable book of all time, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. You’re welcome.

Another thing that got forgotten was the fact that against all probability a sperm whale had suddenly been called into existence several miles above the surface of an alien planet.

And since this is not a naturally tenable position for a whale, this poor innocent creature had very little time to come to terms with its identity as a whale before it then had to come to terms with not being a whale any more.

This is a complete record of its thoughts from the moment it began its life till the moment it ended it.

Ah … ! What’s happening? it thought.

Er, excuse me, who am I?

Hello?

Why am I here? What’s my purpose in life?

What do I mean by who am I?

Calm down, get a grip now … oh! this is an interesting sensation, what is it? It’s a sort of … yawning, tingling sensation in my … my … well I suppose I’d better start finding names for things if I want to make any headway in what for the sake of what I shall call an argument I shall call the world, so let’s call it my stomach.

Good. Ooooh, it’s getting quite strong. And hey, what’s about this whistling roaring sound going past what I’m suddenly going to call my head? Perhaps I can call that … wind! Is that a good name? It’ll do … perhaps I can find a better name for it later when I’ve found out what it’s for. It must be something very important because there certainly seems to be a hell of a lot of it. Hey! What’s this thing? This … let’s call it a tail – yeah, tail. Hey! I can can really thrash it about pretty good can’t I? Wow! Wow! That feels great! Doesn’t seem to achieve very much but I’ll probably find out what it’s for later on. Now – have I built up any coherent picture of things yet?

No.

Never mind, hey, this is really exciting, so much to find out about, so much to look forward to, I’m quite dizzy with anticipation …

Or is it the wind?

There really is a lot of that now isn’t it?

And wow! Hey! What’s this thing suddenly coming towards me very fast? Very very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like … ow … ound … round … ground! That’s it! That’s a good name – ground!

I wonder if it will be friends with me?

And the rest, after a sudden wet thud, was silence.

Day 16 – Favorite female character

Lyra, from His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

I was having a conversation with hatalie a couple weeks ago, and she said something about why Lyra is such a great character. “It’s because in a book about repression by the Church, her biggest virtues are things considered sinful.” And it’s true! She uses heavily moralized, feminine-coded, weapons of the weak. She lies, she questions authority, she masters the kind of knowledge they value most, and she uses it against them. Just like they were afraid of.

What an utter badass.

Warchild, by Karin Lowachee: In case you ever thought Master and Commander was not gay enough or in outer space enough. Also in case you wanted to annoy your friends gibbering about your feels in the middle of the night. If you like equal parts GRITTY ESPIONAGE, SUPER UPSETTING VILLAINS, and BEAUTIFUL SAD BOYS.
There are two more books in this series and I want them in my eyeballs now. :(

Warchild, by Karin Lowachee: In case you ever thought Master and Commander was not gay enough or in outer space enough. Also in case you wanted to annoy your friends gibbering about your feels in the middle of the night. If you like equal parts GRITTY ESPIONAGE, SUPER UPSETTING VILLAINS, and BEAUTIFUL SAD BOYS.

There are two more books in this series and I want them in my eyeballs now. :(

I first came across this story a couple years ago. It is of course relevant to my particular interests, what with the sex robots and all. But it also does a great job looking at the societal implications of sex robots. What would that mean for privacy? Identity? Rape culture?

Also, it’s apparently about to be anthologized in a book called Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction, so—yay! It’s very creepy-clever-charming. Go give it a read.




If Los Angeles is a woman reclining billboard model with collagen-puffed lips and silicone-inflated breasts, a woman in a magenta convertible with heart-shaped glasses and cotton candy hair; if Los Angeles is this woman, then the San Fernando Valley is her teenybopper sister. The teenybopper sister snaps big stretchy pink bubbles over her tongue and checks her lip gloss in the rearview mirror, causing Sis to scream. Teeny plays the radio too loud and bites her nails, wondering if the glitter polish will poison her. She puts her bare feet up on the dash to admire her tan legs and the blond hair that is so pale and soft she doesn’t have to shave. She wears a Val Surf T-shirt and boys’ boxer shorts and she has a boy’s phone number scrawled on her hand. Part of her wants to spit on it and rub it off, and part of her wishes it was written in huge numbers across her belly, his name in gang letters, like a tattoo. The citrus fruits bouncing off the sidewalk remind her of boys; the burning oil and chlorine, the gold light smoldering on the windy leaves. Boys are shooting baskets on the tarry playground and she thinks she can smell them on the air.


        If Los Angeles is a woman reclining billboard model and the San Fernando Valley is her teenybopper sister, then New York is their cousin. Her hair is dyed autumn red or aubergine or Egyptian henna, depending on her mood. Her skin is pale as frost and she wears beautiful Jil Sander suits and Prada pumps on which she walks faster than a speeding taxi (when it is caught in rush hour, that is). Her lips are some unlikely shade of copper or violet, courtesy of her local MAC drag queen makeup consultant. She is always carrying bags of clothes, bouquets of roses, take-out Chinese containers, or bagels. Museum tags fill her pockets and purses, along with perfume samples and invitations to art gallery openings. When she is walking to work, to ward off bums or psychos, her face resembles the Statue of Liberty, but at home in her candlelit, dove-colored apartment, the stony look fades away and she smiles like the sterling roses she has bought for herself to make up for the fact that she is single and her feet are sore.

— Francesca Lia Block, I Was a Teenage Fairy

If Los Angeles is a woman reclining billboard model with collagen-puffed lips and silicone-inflated breasts, a woman in a magenta convertible with heart-shaped glasses and cotton candy hair; if Los Angeles is this woman, then the San Fernando Valley is her teenybopper sister. The teenybopper sister snaps big stretchy pink bubbles over her tongue and checks her lip gloss in the rearview mirror, causing Sis to scream. Teeny plays the radio too loud and bites her nails, wondering if the glitter polish will poison her. She puts her bare feet up on the dash to admire her tan legs and the blond hair that is so pale and soft she doesn’t have to shave. She wears a Val Surf T-shirt and boys’ boxer shorts and she has a boy’s phone number scrawled on her hand. Part of her wants to spit on it and rub it off, and part of her wishes it was written in huge numbers across her belly, his name in gang letters, like a tattoo. The citrus fruits bouncing off the sidewalk remind her of boys; the burning oil and chlorine, the gold light smoldering on the windy leaves. Boys are shooting baskets on the tarry playground and she thinks she can smell them on the air.

        If Los Angeles is a woman reclining billboard model and the San Fernando Valley is her teenybopper sister, then New York is their cousin. Her hair is dyed autumn red or aubergine or Egyptian henna, depending on her mood. Her skin is pale as frost and she wears beautiful Jil Sander suits and Prada pumps on which she walks faster than a speeding taxi (when it is caught in rush hour, that is). Her lips are some unlikely shade of copper or violet, courtesy of her local MAC drag queen makeup consultant. She is always carrying bags of clothes, bouquets of roses, take-out Chinese containers, or bagels. Museum tags fill her pockets and purses, along with perfume samples and invitations to art gallery openings. When she is walking to work, to ward off bums or psychos, her face resembles the Statue of Liberty, but at home in her candlelit, dove-colored apartment, the stony look fades away and she smiles like the sterling roses she has bought for herself to make up for the fact that she is single and her feet are sore.

— Francesca Lia Block, I Was a Teenage Fairy