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.
Did you know that sometimes people say bad things about other people? Randy does, and he's super sad about it.
Kyra-Wardog: I was sort of borderline bored throughout.
Yeah, that was how I felt about Dust, as well. I haven't really tried to figure out why, though I think I'm mostly just apathetic towards the characters, Perceval's awesomeness notwithstanding.
Karen Healey's Guardian of the Dead also features an explicitly asexual young man as one of the major supporting characters during the first half of the book; the first person narrator has to have it explained to her, but fortunately, she catches on quick.
Overall, I found the story ... adequate. There wasn't anything particularly wrong with it that I could discern (well, aside from the narrator occasionally exoticizing a Chinese supporting character), but it didn't greatly thrill me. I didn't love it, but I liked it well enough.
Also argh, Wikipedia, the part about Sparrow being bioengineered is a SPOILER, bleh.
I saw the tabloid outrage and thought "good on you, Hilary".
I love the fact that the tabloids are spinning this as an attack on the royals when in fact Mantel is specifically calling out the media (and its audience) for approaching Duchess Kate's fertility status like gynecological Kremlinologists.
Although ... I didn't actually enjoy reading the book very much. I don't know what it was, it felt a bit like a personal failure because I very strongly felt I SHOULD have liked everything about it. But I was sort of borderline bored throughout.
Also, maybe I'm just being churlish, but it felt weirdly like some kind of gender/sexuality spectrum pick 'n' mix. Here we have a trans character TICK, here we have a lesbian, TICK, here we have a non-gendered character, TICK. I LOVE books that centralise those sort of characters but it felt less like centralisation and more like lining them up like skittles.
Perceval is pretty awesome though.
@Cheriola -- Have you read Bone Dance by Emma Bull? The protagonist is agendered and asexual.
No, I haven't. What's it about? To Wikipedia!
"It is equally relevant that this main character is a bioengineered human"
"The second half of the story shows Sparrow's awkward progress toward a fully human condition and becoming a valued member of a community"
No, thank you.
*sigh* Just once, I'd like to see characters whose asexuality isn't there specifically to other them, to make them seem less human, or where it's implied to be a symptom of a potentially dangerous mental disorder. (See various asexual serial killers in fiction, and the new Sherlock's self-admitted sociopathy.) It's a harmful stereotype, just like 'man-hating psycho lesbian' or 'chronically unfaithful bisexual' or 'pedophile gay man'.
The closest I've come was the classic BBC radio series of Sherlock Holmes, where Holmes is presented as more emotional (and romantic) and Watson is eventually called out about describing Holmes as machine-like in his books. And a few characters in the Discworld novels who aren't explicitely stated to be asexual, but read that way to me.
I don't know if it's just a function of keeping it kid-friendly, but most of the books kind of read like the man is demi himself. Not because there's little romance in the plots, but because of a certain way he describes people, the number of characters that seem utterly oblivious to flirting and other people's looks and never complain about not getting laid, and the snarky jokes about particularly promiscuous characters. And if someone gets a love interest, that interest rarely seems to be based on physical attraction. I wonder if it's intentional, or if that's just how the author sees the world. I'm currently reading "Monstrous Regiment" again, paying attention to the details, and the protagonist really does seem asexual to me, not just too busy to think about boys. And that's one of the more mature-oriented Discworld books that actually does cover topics like lesbianism, transgender identities, drag, sexual harassment and rape. But the protagonist never actually states that she's uninterested and never has been attracted to anyone. She just isn't. It's kind of weird to miss that awareness of alienation from the rest of world. (Though it is a religiously repressive society with no media aside from bawdy songs, so she probably wouldn't feel as 'abnormal' as most asexuals are made to feel by modern society.) Or maybe he just wanted to do the same as homosexual/bisexual authors who want to write stories with queer characters who don't suffer sexuality-based angst.
One of the actually interesting things that did come out of research into color naming is that it seems as though human languages tend to develop color words in a particular order. First a language will get 'light' and 'dark', roughly. If there's a third term it is almost invariably 'red', and so on. More info here. Note that this isn't universally accepted research; but it's definitely got fairly wide acceptance and is pretty fascinating, I think.
I wonder whether some of the examples of "mismatched" colour + noun pairs are to do not so much with visual perception of colour and more to do with the symbolic associations of certain colours which led to certain objects being assigned that way? Not a question I'd be able to answer though!