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 09:50 on 20-12-2011, Cammalot
@Ibmiller, yes, that's the one. I didn't finish it after the bit that was basically a long "Wow, your lips are fucking huge" bit from Holmes. It was one of the earlier pieces in the book I had. But I didn't toss the book in high dudgeon or anything. I just...don't love Doyle in the way I do Twain and some others. I went on to read Hound of the Baskervilles, etc.

I'd heard about The Yellow Face, which I think is a very sweet tale. I actually plan to read it for myself -- I'm surprised that it's an *earlier* story, though. What happened there!?
at 05:24 on 20-12-2011, Michal
Have a happy Cold War Christmas everyone.

Bwahahahaha. Because people totally didn't celebrate Christmas in E. Europe under communist rule. Or maybe Americans just didn't recognize our truly terrifying version of St. Nicholas?

What a shame it is, then, that he didn't stumble across my review of The Steel Remains.

Odd, that. I kept on stumbling across him during the "grimdark debates" earlier this year. The dude was everywhere.
at 03:02 on 20-12-2011, Ibmiller
@Cammalot - I am curious - as a huge fan of the source material (probably my first fandom, when I was ten) - which story are you thinking of with the insults to the black man? Was it "The Three Gables?" ( That one is particularly bad, but some of the earlier stories (particularly "The Yellow Face") are really fantastic in contrast (also the brilliant adaptations by Bert Coules and co for the BBC radio in the 90s).
at 01:02 on 20-12-2011, Cammalot
(That was supposed to say "@valse" but I suppose it's clear from context...)
at 23:35 on 19-12-2011, Cammalot
@I sense a great culling of my To Be Read pile in the near future. I have lots of nice KJ Parker waiting for me. I can focus on that. (Of course, this would likely be interpreted by the parties in question as some sort of sad attempt to "punish" as opposed to a very basic and logical perception that I am not going to do things with my fun entertainment time that I would not find fun or entertaining. So, yeah.)

Of course, I pick today to watch "The Lovely Bones." Oy.

Oh yeah -- I liked the first Sherlock film because I've had a crush on Robert Downey Jr since forever, on Jude Law since more recently, enjoyed seeing them emote at one another, and have very little attachment to the source material. (I tried to work my way through the complete works as an undergrad, but lost my drive after the short story in which Holmes spends a lot of time insulting the lips and complexion of a black man he didn't like very much. I've been told Doyle sort of redeems that with later characters; maybe I'll check it out.) Also, I liked most of the treatment of Irene Adler, although if I remember correctly, she did become a bit of a distress damsel at the end. I liked how they made the effort to address a little throwaway bit in canon, a bit where Watson observes that Holmes was this amazing boxer but never practiced; Watson couldn't see how that worked, but let it go. The film explanation was hilarious, to me. I think the actual mystery was lacking in execution and explanation, but overall the humor worked for me. Oh yeah, and my movie ticket was free after a disastrous viewing of "Avatar," as in blue space people -- basically, I got a refund and used it on Sherlock, so the association is pleasant.
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.