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 22:27 on 19-12-2011, Ibmiller
@Robinson L - I shall look forward to it! Or, whatever it is when you want to help purge your mind of something egregiously bad. :-)
at 20:11 on 19-12-2011, valse de la lune
What a shame it is, then, that he didn't stumble across my review of The Steel Remains. Mark Lawrence also showed up in that thread--the one who wrote that book--to whinge, but he deleted his post.

Grimdark authors seem to coalesce around the Westeros forums to defend their work.

Oh you know, feathers and flocking.
at 19:45 on 19-12-2011, Michal
The minute I saw the poster's name was "Richard" I had an inkling it might be Richard K. Morgan. Grimdark authors seem to coalesce around the Westeros forums to defend their work. Actually, Richard just tends to pop up everywhere to defend his work.
at 18:37 on 19-12-2011, valse de la lune
Cammalot: I discovered the poster who left that charming "you must be twelve" bit is... Richard Morgan.

Suddenly everything makes sense.
at 18:00 on 19-12-2011, Robinson L
@Ibmiller: I'll be happy to talk with you about Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows around this time next week, after my family and I have seen it.
at 10:13 on 19-12-2011, Arthur B
Have a happy Cold War Christmas everyone.

It's amazing how much current Islamophobic/homophobic rhetoric is cribbed from stuff like this.
at 08:23 on 19-12-2011, Axiomatic

Morrowind was my favorite Elder Scrolls game - Oblivion was just so genericly...generic, whereas Morrowind was interesting. Haven't played Skyrim yet because I doubt it will run on this rig.
at 08:05 on 19-12-2011, Arthur B
I have't played it yet, but I hear that Skyrim has destroyed the most interesting part of Tamriel, Morrowind. Is this true?

Dredging up this because I realise I never gave Axiomatic a full answer.

The Red Mountain did erupt and the Dunmer did evacuate most of Morrowind. But that happened 200 years ago and they (for the most part) went back afterwards; at least one character on the run from the Tharol says that they're going to go to Morrowind because the Dunmer don't get on too well with the Dominion.
at 07:00 on 19-12-2011, Axiomatic
I guess the line about Terez having no purpose in the plot other to get raped must be true, because I can't for the life of me remember that character at all.

On a related note, the Prince of Nothing series is amazing, but someone pointed out to me that there are only three female characters in it, and they're all whores, and my first reaction was, Holy shit, there were three of them?

at 06:22 on 19-12-2011, valse de la lune
I realize I sound like a broken record now but: wow. That guy with the "you must be twelve." I'd like to find out just what it is that he writes--though at a guess he's an unpublished scrub--and tear him a new one. Then there are all the posters screaming CENSORSHIP. The sheer energy they are investing into defending a straight man from accusations of sexism and homophobia is astounding.

What an absolute fucking cesspit. When I see things like this, I can't much give a shit for calling out and shredding women bloggers for saying something slightly off anymore.
at 02:08 on 19-12-2011, Cammalot
See, the book exists in a complete and utter void, and has no effect on people outside the fictional world of the book, and so anyone who might identify with anyone who's not a main character is being mean to the author. Or something. And of course, what with the existing in a vacuum thing, it's not like there's a trend going on over many books and many authors and many, many years with characters of that type that reinforces any negative sorts of subconscious/conscious attitudes in readers of such books, which they then carry out into the real world. And "The Celluloid Closet" is not something that exists and can be consulted. And not wanting to read things wherein, via a character you identify with, you are being told that your role in the world is to be raped (unless you get to die, or watch your lover die and go revengering, but somebody has to be dead) makes you 12. And the structural integrity of the void within which the book exists is *more important than anything else.* ANYTHING. Do not pierce it with your girly opinions.

Deep breathing. Deep breathing.

Michal, I'm glad you liked "The Fall of the Kings!"
at 21:48 on 18-12-2011, valse de la lune
So male privilege (thread discusses a character in Joe Abercrombie's trilogy, who's a lesbian and who exists only so she can get raped and emphasize what a grim, dark, gritty and mature fantasy we are reading):

Of course, this is the same reason you think that the Terez scene was poorly written - that it somehow reenforces a trope of the bitchy-lesbian-being-getting-raped-into-submission (and similarly to Parker/Stone regardless of his intent, the effects could be disastrous?) and that Abercrombie could have written it any other way because the way he wrote it, Terez exists only to be raped for the sake of showing the audience how terrible Glokta is. And that somehow this is wrong.

But I don't see that. Why is wrong that Terez exists only to be raped? Is it poor story-telling? That's a criticism I could understand. But Kalbear and others give counter-examples like making her heterosexual, or having Glokta threaten her brother. What is wrong with taking a previous trope - the rape of a lesbian - and using it? Similar to Stone and Parker, I don't see what they did as wrong, and I don't see what Abercrombie did as wrong. Neither parties condone the scene, nor do I agree that the scene is as titillating as some would think. And even if it were, why does it matter? The scene is from Jezal's point-of-view and he's an idiot. If it were the most erotic scene Abercrombie has ever written, it wouldn't matter because it's conceivable that Jezal is stupid enough to experience it like that.

at 20:09 on 18-12-2011, Ibmiller
The reason I think the first film got a lot of excitement (from me as well) was that 1) It had Watson as a strong contributing partner (the legacy of the 1940s films, where Watson is a total idiot, has yet to be overcome, despite the fact that television has known it for a while); 2) most Holmes fans had such low expectations that the amount of Holmesian dialogue and touches thrown in were a pleasant surprise.

The new film, while it probably has about equal measure of dialogue and references, has nothing more - so those of us with expectations from the first film went in (foolishly) expecting more, and got the same stuff, only worse.

And much, much dumber.

I didn't even know that Strange Horizens had short stories. I thought it was just reviews. Ooops.
at 19:16 on 18-12-2011, valse de la lune
I read them when recommended some, but I must say that the online zine format isn't all that conductive to reading.
at 17:11 on 18-12-2011, Michal
This just occurred to me...does anyone here actually read the short stories on Strange Horizons? Because I realize I almost solely go there for the articles/reviews.
at 16:39 on 18-12-2011, Frank
Totally. Why was there so much squee?
at 15:32 on 18-12-2011, Sister Magpie
TBH, I found the first Sherlock Holmes incredibly boring.
at 18:20 on 17-12-2011, Ibmiller
So, dispensing with any semblance of brain, Sherlock Holmes 2 was...not good.

Also boring.
at 13:46 on 17-12-2011, valse de la lune
Quite, and this too. Comments are, of course, predictable as egg on toast.
at 11:24 on 17-12-2011, Rami
Is it just me, or is this mostly on the ball?
at 20:14 on 16-12-2011, Ibmiller
I have to say I'm distinctly nervous about Brave, especially since Up and Cars 2 really, really didn't work for me. Except for the first ten minutes of Up. But everything after that was just not terribly interesting or cohesive.

Also, Happy Birthday, Jane Austen! I don't care if Google and ignored you this year! I wish you were here to write dystopia with good manners :-)
at 03:53 on 16-12-2011, Guy
You know how extreme metal bands have those really awesome and totally unreadable logos? Thanks to this guy, now Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber do too.

Michael Buble, awesome. Bieber's satanic enough that his one kind of makes sense.
at 21:04 on 15-12-2011, Michal
We've totally missed the boat on that whole cyberpunk dystopia thing, but there's still hope. (I do, in fact, own a trenchcoat. I just don't have the cybertech body enhancements to go along with it yet.)
at 20:32 on 15-12-2011, Alasdair Czyrnyj
and tom paris invented an engine that could go to infinity. the drawback of which could be cured so easily it happened off-screen. in a series about getting home.

And that engine he invented? It's exactly the same as a regular warp engine, only with a fancy new form of dilithium in it. To make a crude analogy, it's the equivalent of switching from Yorkshire to Columbian coal and discovering you can make a steam locomotive break the sound barrier.

(Honestly, that's one of the things that pisses me off the most about latter-day Trek: the fact that no one writing it seems to give a shit how the technology works anymore. I'm not demanding you swear fealty to the laws of nature, but I would like if you could friggin' remember the rules you wrote for yourselves way back when.)

brannon braga is a genius.

He has to be. Who else other than a genius could be given a show with the premise "Humans colonize dinosaur times" and think to himself "I know what I'll do! I'll make the colony functionally identical to modern-day America, and I'll center the plot around an incredibly fucking tepid family drama!!!"

No normal man would think these thoughts. Genius is the only explanation.