Playpen

Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 22:02 on 19-10-2013, Robinson L
@Melanie: Good point. I'd be mightily ticked off if I ended up with Rogue's powers, for instance.

Reaching back a bit:
Bryn: This review blog may be of interest to Ferretbrain! It promotes diverse SFF but is quite willing to be harsh when warranted.

Also they have some really good looking collections of queer SFF short fiction + SFF short fiction by Asian and African and Caribbean writers.

Thanks for sharing, Bryn. Those authors all sound like they'd be worth getting into (well, except the poets, that's just not my thing), but I don't have time just now to hunt up and read two dozen books or magazines, but having those short stories collected right there and free to read - nice (especially since so many of them are already available on audio.

In other news, I'm surprised nobody's posted this already: Hell No: the Sensible Horror Film, "the most realistic horror movie ever," "with a surprise twist you'll ... probably see coming."

And finally, I just got this from the library and have been quite enjoying it: William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope.
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at 01:20 on 19-10-2013, Melanie
Would I like to have superhuman powers? Maybe - I can see pros and cons, even setting aside the social aspects. Would I like to have some prick come along and bestow superhuman powers upon me without my knowledge or consent? I don't think so.


Especially since, in the X-Men universe in particular, superpowers are basically a crap shoot: you could get something cool and useful, or, you could get something that makes you--completely involuntarily--a danger to everyone around you. Or you could get something that gives you far too much power over other people, like Xavier himself.
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at 22:20 on 18-10-2013, Michal
As long as we're tossing around recommendations, this podcast is entirely devoted to "Girl Books for Girls" and makes for easy listening.
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at 20:30 on 18-10-2013, Robinson L
Alice: New to me, so thanks for the recommendation, Adrienne!

Ditto. The general tone is a bit strident for my taste, and I think the author is a little unfair to Sanderson's plotting and characterization, but I appreciate the perspective and there are a lot of good points in there. I especially liked the section on "The Magical Elite" from the first sample, because it expresses exactly one of my biggest complaints about contemporary fantasy. The politics of the Equalists versus the Benders was also my chief source of uneasiness with the first season of "The Legend of Korra."

The part about villains trying to democratize superpowers also struck a chord with me (from the pilot episode of Agents of SHIELD, it looks like their villains may fall into a similar vein). I agree with the author that the villains' plans sound like fine goals to me - except Magneto's from the first X-Men movie. My understanding of the other villainous plans cited was that they were all opt-in, whereas Magneto planned to turn all of New York City into mutants by force. Would I like to have superhuman powers? Maybe - I can see pros and cons, even setting aside the social aspects. Would I like to have some prick come along and bestow superhuman powers upon me without my knowledge or consent? I don't think so.


And now for something completely different: I was intending to write a review of the Doctor Who/Next Generation crossover comic, Assimilation2 on the strength of the cracked out premise alone, but I finished reading the miniseries the other day and it was just so ... banal that I don't think I could keep myself awake through writing an article about it.
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at 17:05 on 18-10-2013, Alice
New to me, so thanks for the recommendation, Adrienne!
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at 09:47 on 18-10-2013, Adrienne
And now realizing that Chiusse is in fact a friend of Ferretbrain, or at least a friend of friends of Ferretbrain, so probably everyone already knows about her but me. Oh, well. :) I still think she's worth drawing attention to again!
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at 19:20 on 17-10-2013, Fin
maverick marsupial


Sounds like a great name for a cop show.
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at 20:56 on 16-10-2013, Sonia Mitchell
And now, some kangaroo news.
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at 10:24 on 15-10-2013, Arthur B
The South Park thing was especially cringeworthy because it's a show which has got really tired out referencing a thing that's got really tired out to explain a joke which itself is not just tired out, but got tired out early in the shows run, was retired for being tired out, was rekindled again for nostalgia and then got tired out all over again.
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at 10:48 on 14-10-2013, James D
You know something is wrong when it's gotten all the way to South Park.
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at 10:28 on 14-10-2013, Arthur B
Yeah, I think it's long past the point where Cthulhu (and tentacles/tendrils in general) needs to get put back into the toybox for a while.
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at 10:13 on 14-10-2013, James D
True. But on the other hand, some of the IKEA names don't necessarily mean anything, like Bastig? On the other hand Einherjer, or Sargeist could be of an older germanic language, which makes them kinda unikeanistic. I think. Taake is kind of a tricky one though. And Klubbo would be a real game changer if the quiz was about IKEA or europop bands.

Well, I have to admit that my general knowledge of metal was enough to get me through the tough spots. I'd heard of Taake and Sargeist from friends, even though I'm not into black metal myself.

(I really hope you weren't refering to the queer aspect with your "cutesy" verdict.)

I've listened to a few Welcome to Night Vale episodes now and it seems very cutesy to me too. Not anything to do with the queer aspect, that's fine, but more to do with how the show describes these apparently terrifying things with a little too much nudging and winking. It's not just that wild, scary shit is normal to these people, it's stuff like how station management is described in a very matter-of-fact way as seeming to have "tendrils" through the frosted glass of their office (reminiscent of Ligotti's Our Temporary Supervisor), and then the narrator makes comments which the management doesn't approve of, which leads to him being terrorized. This is played up not for scares, but for laughs.

Overall I did enjoy Welcome to Night Vale, mostly because Cecil's voice and diction are just incredibly relaxing. That said, I always get pretty annoyed by the internet's love of "hilarious" treatments of cosmic and surreal horror, especially Cthulhu and other well-known icons. There's something wrong when the jokes and parodies seem to be more popular than actual serious treatments. Oh look, it's Cthulhu in a drive-through, or a mall, or a school play, or some other comically unfitting situation - how droll!
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at 06:50 on 12-10-2013, Bookwyrm
Weird, as it was on Coming Out Day 2010 that I first looked up the term asexual and realised that it fit me, so it's kind of a significant day for me

Same here, Coming Out Day 2012 was when I officially came out as aromantic asexual. :)
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at 04:33 on 12-10-2013, Michal
So I started reading God's War by Kameron Hurley and am now thoroughly convinced that a glowing blurb from Jeff Vandermeer on the front has become a universal warning for "this novel will contain an odd obsession with insects."
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at 23:14 on 11-10-2013, Fin
Awesome bracelets. :) I'd forgotten it was that time of year actually. Weird, as it was on Coming Out Day 2010 that I first looked up the term asexual and realised that it fit me, so it's kind of a significant day for me.
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at 22:56 on 11-10-2013, Cheriola
Also, since today is apparently Coming Out Day, I've made myself a couple of pride flag bracelets from some old cross-stitching yarn I had lying around uselessly. I know a black hematite ring is the standard ace equivalent of the solitary ring in one ear for gay men, but I can't afford to buy jewellery and I never liked wearing rings besides. Plus, this way I can add a rainbow flag for general ally-tude. You know, to mark myself as safe to talk to.
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at 22:45 on 11-10-2013, Cheriola
@Alasdair: Nightvale has a canon gay romance subplot between Cecil, the narrator, and Carlos, the scientist. (No, not just the usual queer-baiting. They're a couple now.) So the slashers love it. There are bloody fandom wars over whether or not the characters are PoC. (Carlos is, though some people like to deny it because they're into shipping white dudes exclusively. The vast majority of the fandom sees Cecil as white. And the queer PoCs in the fandom are pissed off that people would just assume that and drown out the PoC interpretations, when there's no proof for his whiteness, while there are some indications that he's Native American.)

Also, the show itself is quite intersectionality-aware. I.e. there's a running joke about how one guy who appropriates Native American culture while being white is an unforgiveable asshole; women in positions of power and girls who are heroes; nearly everyone being a little or a lot strange in ways that would make them outsiders everywhere but in Nightvale... That kind of thing.

So, because decent queer and PoC representation is still rare, tumblr feminist circles have been recommending the show to give it more exposure. And social outsiders and less privileged groups of every stripe find ways to identify with the characters. It's a bit like Rocky Horror in this regard.

But yeah, I can see why someone who already finds himself well-represented in the media wouldn't see what's attractive about this fandom.

(I really hope you weren't refering to the queer aspect with your "cutesy" verdict.)

Though saying all that, personally, I do find the main plot / horror elements often too nonsensical or boring. And I skip the indi-band promotions.
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at 21:40 on 11-10-2013, Arthur B permalink
at 21:08 on 11-10-2013, Janne Kirjasniemi
True. But on the other hand, some of the IKEA names don't necessarily mean anything, like Bastig? On the other hand Einherjer, or Sargeist could be of an older germanic language, which makes them kinda unikeanistic. I think. Taake is kind of a tricky one though. And Klubbo would be a real game changer if the quiz was about IKEA or europop bands.
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at 20:11 on 11-10-2013, James D
Well I don't think a single one of the metal band names was actually IN Swedish, so it seems like it would be pretty easy to fudge the quiz if you didn't know anything about either except that IKEA is Swedish.

I did get a laugh out of them calling Von an influential band, though. Give me a break.
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at 19:56 on 11-10-2013, Janne Kirjasniemi
We have only a few items of IKEA around and my knowledge of this genre of music is seriously limited. I do, however, have adequate skill in swedish, so I got compared to the cloven one as well. But i guess it just follows, that as IKEA likes to use place names and nice commonplace words in swedish and metal bands aim for the grimmer and more vikingy or mythological and cooler sounding names, knowledge of the language helps to spot the feeling of the word, if not the meaning itself.
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at 10:22 on 11-10-2013, Kit
Hm, at least among my crowd it seems usual to have at least a couple of low-cost Ikea things to go with your fleamarket-bought/found/donated-by-friends furniture. Plus browsing the catalogue to get to the cheapest stuff in each category and painstakingly hunting for those elusive yellow tags, as I had to do last year for a very hasty move, probably gives you a good feel for the general tenor of Ikea names ;)
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at 17:02 on 10-10-2013, Michal
Huh, when I was in grad school I furnished my room with furniture found behind apartments and in alleyways, so I was not much good at this test at all.
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