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What I've Been Reading - W/E 18 JAN 2019

Farewell Re-reads
A Dying Light in Corduba, by Lindsey Davis, ISBN 0 71 2659 41 2. One of her Marcus Didius Falco novels. (Yup, finished the Tim Flannery, and it's in the bye-bye bag, awaiting donation).

Fanfic

Five Times the Villain’s Weapon Didn’t Work on Thor and the One Time It Did by TheOther Odinson - MCU "Five Times" fic. My notes for this one basically quote Loki in Avengers: Assemble - "Are you ever not going to fall for that?". Made me grin.

A Kind of Magic by XpaperplaneX - Latest chapter of a WIP (Ch 4). Still fluffy, but with more smut in this chapter.

you&i’ll be safe and sound (epilogue) by Feather (lalaietha) - final part of the "your blue eyed boys" re-read.

[to see you there] by Feather (lalaietha) - The link leads to the main series page on AO3, because this week I re-read the whole series. All 28 parts of it. And rather than bloat out my list by referring to them all individually, I'm just going to point everyone to this list someone else (Feather!) prepared earlier, in best "Blue Peter"/cooking show style.

Online Articles

Four Days Trapped at Sea With Crypto’s Nouveau Riche by Laurie Penny - Confirming that spending the better part of a week around a bunch of crypto-currency enthusiasts is probably not anyone's idea of a good time. Not even the crypto-currency enthusiasts'.

This Transgender Woman Says a Message From Her Doctor’s Office Turned Into a Transphobic Tirade by Lucy Diavolo - despite the tabloidesque headline, it's an intelligent story, and I have a lot of respect for the person involved.

That's what I've been reading this week. What about everyone else? Any articles that catch people's eyes, or recommendations/dis-recommendations?

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Current Mood: hot hot
What I've Been Reading - W/E 11 JAN 2019

Farewell Re-reads

Still plugging away at The Weather Makers. It's almost depressing to realise a lot of what Flannery is talking about in 2005 hasn't been implemented by the Australian government over a decade later.

Fanfic

Under the fold to save people's timelines )

Online Articles

(Because why not? I am reading these, I may as well keep track of them)Under the fold to save people's timelines )

So, what's everyone else reading? Any recommendations? Any dis-recommendations?

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Current Mood: busy busy
What I've Been Reading - W/E 04 JAN 2019

Farewell Re-Read:

Still working my way through The Weather Makers

Fanfic:
Read more... )

Fanart/Comics:

(These are all from the Gaia Santa collection as well)

Holiday Shenanigans by chaoscheebs

Pushing the Limits by Kitsunebaba - This one is a comic, and it's supposed to be a longer work.

Fix a Heartbreak with Coffee and Cake by Sephykins

Anything anyone else wants to share or recommend?

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/127534.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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Current Mood: awake awake
Current Music: Crows in a distant tree
What I'm Reading Lately - W/E 28 DEC 2018

(I'm going to be trying to make this a regular Thing. Wish me luck with it. Basically, it's going to be a summary of what I'm reading, in which formats, for which purposes, and so on. Some brief comments about each thing, but not a huge discussion unless it's really something which has set my head on fire.

Two important things to note about my reading habits: 1) I tend to read a lot; 2) I tend to re-read things a lot. This is the intersection of a strong hobby interest in reading, and a low income).

Farewell Re-reads:

(A quick explanation: the "farewell-re-read" shelf on my bookshelves is the one where I put all the books I'm not sure whether I want to keep or discard, so I give them a final re-read and decide from there. Anything on the farewell re-read shelf is an actual print book).

The Weather Makers, Tim Flannery (2005). Tim Flannery on climate change, and why it matters, and why we have to take action on it urgently. Note the publication date.

Fanfic

Different Similarities by Aurya - Dissidia NT fic, involving a discussion between Lightning and Noctis about how oddly similar their worlds and stories are.

Endlessly by aryasnark - A collection of short pieces starring Squall Leonhart and Cloud Strife (therefore ranging in fandom from Kingdom Hearts, through FFVII, FFVIII, and Dissidia). A work in progress. One I keep coming back to and re-reading, as well as enjoying the new additions.

Exodus by MoiDuh - Dissidia 12 fic, where Cloud disappears from Gaia in the aftermath of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. A work in progress.

Fluffy Humorous How they Get Together Just Read It Okay? There will be SMUT by mdaoust245 - FFVII Sephiroth/Cloud fic. Work in progress. Cloud is bullied into asking Sephiroth out for a date.

Good Friends and Good Company by Megane - Dissidia fic. Cloud and Tidus chilling in Besaid.

once more by brewpubs - Kingdom Hearts. An interesting take on the tie between Sephiroth and Cloud in KH canon.

Pretty Kitty by wickedorin - FFVII Zack/Sephiroth pet play. Smutfic.

Sunflowers by XpaperplaneX - FFVII pre-canon fix-it. Work in progress (completed, but being posted gradually). A young Sephiroth is sent to a certain mountain village for a summer as a consequence of disobeying orders. I'm a sucker for a good "Sephiroth gets a different childhood" fix-it, so I'd definitely recommend this one to other people who are fans of the same thing.

The Forest of Winters Past by dentedsky - Dissidia NT AU - Zack Fair lands up in the world of Dissidia NT. Part of the Fictober 2018 collection on AO3.

3, 2, 5? by Tellie_Skye - FFVII High school AU. Work in progress. Writer will probably be good when they get a bit more practice under their belt. As it stands, this reads as though English isn't their first language.

A Little Bird Told Me by chibikaie - Kingdom Hearts, possibly a college AU. Work in progress. Interesting enough that I've subscribed to it to keep up with updates.

A prince just wants good ol’ lovin’ by SunFallDown - FFVII, fairy tale AU. Zack/Cloud. This one is a variation on Cinderella, or at least, it has elements thereof.

All That I’ve got by Vincent_Valentine - FFVII/Kingdom Hearts High School AU. Work in progress. Zack/Cloud. Not particularly enthralling, I'm afraid.

Final Fantasy: Cross Dimensions by SIR_QUACK_AloT - FFVII/FFVIII crossover, Squall falls into the world of FFVII post-OG canon. Work in progress. I got thrown out of this one hard by the author referring to the antagonist of FFVIII as "Ultimania" (she's Ultimecia) and didn't bother to read past that.

From our Family to Yours by Madame_Xela - Kingdom Hearts AU, Squall/Cloud, domestic fluff. Work in progress. Seasonal snapshots of a family where Leon and Cloud have kids and are married to each other.

Love Twice by 0roro_Munr0e - FFVII: Crisis Core mundane world AU. Working toward the OT5 (SOLDIER fivesome). Work in progress. I was catching up on chapters 14 - 16. Interesting story, but the author occasionally has frustrating errors in tense and word choice.

Polarity by Tobiroth - FFVII Crisis Core A/B/O Dynamics AU. Work in progress. Tobiroth is a good author who I like to re-read, but they have a problem with starting stories and not finishing them. There are a LOT Of WIPs in their profile on AO3. I'd still strongly recommend what they write, but be aware of this...

Kinda Toast by joudama - FFXV, Gladio/Prompto fluff. Work in progress. Look, I'm always going to recommend anything by joudama in any of the fandoms we share (and probably I'd recommend her in the ones we don't as well), but this one is gorgeous just for the sheer quality of the way she's captured Prompto's voice.

A Christmas Cracker by Ardwynna - FFVII, part of the 2018 Gaia Santa collection on AO3. My main comment on this one is that if you don't like puns, turn away now, because some bits of this are Punful.

No Complaints by Asreoninfusion FFVII/Venom fusion. Smutfic. Part of the 2018 Gaia Santa collection on AO3. Asreoninfusion is going to be one of those authors I'm going to recommend and re-read repeatedly, because her FF7 smutfic is very good indeed. This is no exception.

Time Forever Favours the Young by Gotham’s_Only_Wolf - FFVII, post-canon, part of the 2018 Gaia Santa collection on AO3. Gotham's_Only_Wolf is another author I'll always recommend. This one is a good post-canon fix-it in many ways.

Mistaken Mistlefoe by Gotham’s_Only_Wolf - FFVII. Part of the 2018 Gaia Santa collection on AO3. One where the idea of inter-cultural communication has presumably never been considered by the management of the Shinra Electric Power Company or the leadership of its army.

This End Up by raisedbymoogles - Transformers/Kingdom Hearts crossover fic. Look, it has Galvatron, moogles and Mognet in it, and it made me laugh out loud.

Gift of the Bots by scifigrl47 - MCU, part of scifigrl47''s "Tales of the Bots" series. DJ needs to earn money to cover the cost of Christmas presents.

A Kind of Magic by XpaperplaneX - FFVII, part of XpaperplaneX's Tentacle 'Verse series. Cloud/Sephiroth. Nice to see the old fandom standbys making a reappearance, and this is one which hasn't been about for a few years now. XpaperplaneX is a good writer, another of the ones I'll always recommend to others.

So, does anyone else have anything they'd like to recommend, or share?

This entry was originally posted at https://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/127433.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Current Mood: calm calm
Final Fantasy VII Fiction Recommendations: Sephiroth Habilitation Fics

Okay, in celebration of finally having enough spare time to be able to do some serious reading again (and having opened another box of books and re-stocked my "farewell re-read" shelves... should get to work on those, really) I present some recommendations for fiction favourites of mine in the Final Fantasy VII fandom. These fics are ones about what I call "Sephiroth Habilitated" - the ones where Sephiroth is "fixed" so he's not completely insane, obsessive, and psychotic, much less the nihilistic demi-god-wannabe we've all come to know and love. I call them "habilitation" fics, rather than "rehabilitation", because quite frankly given the upbringing we're led to suspect for canon Sephiroth (being raised in the laboratories of the Shinra Science Department by Professor Hojo, before being thrown out into the battlefields of Wutai before his voice had finished breaking), it's very much "this is the first chance he's had for any actual normality in his life".

Some of the defining characteristics of this sub-genre, for me, are the rather calm and gentle tone of them - they're about recovery, after all; and the various defining characteristics of the "real" Sephiroth everyone picks up from underneath the role of General, and the influence of Jenova. Most of them tend to be Sephiroth/Cloud slash, so if you see either Sephiroth or Cloud with another partner, you may want to avoid them

So, without any further ado:

the fight goes on series by jukeboxhound

Sephiroth winds up floating in the pool in the church, and Cloud is, once again, the one who's called on to deal with him. If you've read jukeboxhound's stuff before, and know her tone and tendency toward mixing both light and dark material, that carries through in this story, although it's certainly a lot lighter in tone than, for example, "Eir's Tomorrow". The series itself is a work in progress, but the various parts can be read as stand-alone pieces. There are three parts so far. Some explicit content, but of the "tasteful erotica" variety rather than the "plumbing manual" variety (insert tab A into slot B),

Tomowowowo & Boomchick's September 2015 30-Day-NSFW-Challenge

Now, this one is straight-up, largely plumbing-manual explicit content all the way through, complete with pictures which are explicit as well. You have been warned. It is, however, a well-crafted thirty-one piece story about the gradual building of a relationship between Cloud and Sephiroth after the discovery of Sephiroth's body floating (once again) in the pool in the church.

The mighty have fallen by Xenobia

Surprise, surprise, Seph isn't found in a pond in the church this time around. Mostly because I suspect this one was written around the same time Advent Children came out, with only the trailers to go on. In this case, he's been found in a forgotten/previously unknown lab of Hojo's, and again, Cloud is the one who is called on to deal with him. In this case, Sephiroth's release from an induced coma requires Cloud to take on the role of his "keeper" by means of an implanted chip in his (Cloud's) brain which can induce certain phenomena in Sephiroth. And, of course, the predictable relationship occurs, complete with explicit content. I like this one for the slightly different take on Cloud that results from the author not using Advent Children canon to inform his personality.

On Broken Wings by raisedbymoogles

Another which was started back before Advent Children came out, and hence in this one, Sephiroth returns to life after the events of the original game in the Northern Crater. It's been edited since the original writing, so there's bits and pieces of Advent Children canon in there. It's still a work in progress, but I love this one because it shows us a very broken, and very damaged Sephiroth, who really does need a lot of help and a lot of support to be able to make his way back from the person Hojo made him to be. It also gives us a Cloud who isn't exactly 100% himself, and who is still affected by the events mentioned in the original game. There's also two adorable kids, a highly protective and highly personable chocobo (feathered kind, not nickname for Cloud) and of course various mentions of the weird and wonderful wildlife of Gaia in all its diversity.

Infinite Possibilities series, by Kalloway

Another which ignores Advent Children and this time Sephiroth wakes up alone and naked on a beach in Mideel. Now, there's a lot of ways things could have gone after that line, but this fic takes a slightly different one. This is probably the most sedate of the fics I'm recommending, but it's worth it for the journey. While the author does warn for a Sephiroth/Cloud relationship, it's the least detailed of the lot - by the time the story ends, they've maybe got to the point of exchanging a single kiss - it's up the other end of the spectrum from the Boomowowowo challenge, that's for sure. No explicit content, unless you think a bloke waking up naked on a beach counts as explicit content.

Under the Wing of a Nibel Dragon series, by Gotham's_Only_Wolf

This series is very unusual when it comes to Sephiroth Habilitation stories, because it actually starts before the original game canon gets going. It starts as a spin-off of another writer's fic (there's a link to it in the first story, do have a read), and carries on from there, but basically things take an abrupt turn for the better in an eleven-year-old Sephiroth's life after he acquires in rapid succession, a younger brother (adoptive), an adoptive parent who is far better at actual parenting than Hojo, and a home which isn't in the Shinra Science Department. So far it's covering the years from when Sephiroth is eleven through about thirteen or fourteen, so there aren't any sexual relationships happening with Sephiroth involved in them (there may be some coming up later, but there isn't any explicit content in the story so far). Again, it's an ongoing series - there are actually two sub-stories currently in progress, so be warned, things may appear to drop out inconsistently, but it appears to be under active creation at present. But it's notable because the central force in Sephiroth's rehabilitation is not an overloaded, post-Jenova Cloud Strife.

So there you go - six of the best of the genre I've found so far. If you're a fan of this particular little sub-genre, and have any other fics I might have missed, leave a link in the comments.

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Current Mood: accomplished accomplished
Currently Reading: "Simulation" by Jean Beaudrillard.

I am strongly in agreement with Bucky Barnes regarding the readability and sense-making ability of post-modern French philosophes. That is all.

(Longer version: Baudrillard occasionally surfaces to breathe the cool air of making sense, then dives back into the morass of incomprehensibility again. This is very exhausting for the casual reader who is just looking for some decent fscking quotes to add to a 1200 word essay about reproduction and replication (in the semiotic/post-modern sense) in "Planet of the Ood" so she can seem as though she's got at least some philosophical and theoretical backing for her thesis statement. On the bright side, he appears to have predicted Donald Trump's presidency some thirty-three years ahead of time.)

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Current Mood: my brain hurts my brain hurts
Parents, Teachers, Schoolkids and The Homework Thing

Just been reading through some back issues of "The Secret Teacher" on teh Grauniad website, and one of the issues which comes up repeatedly is "homework" - essentially, teachers think it's No Big Deal, parents either complain there's too much, or too little, and the kids always think there's too much.

More under the fold )

As so often occurs, what truth and peace there is in the whole argument lies somewhere in between the extremes of it - or at least within the overlapping spaces in the argument's Venn diagram. Homework and home study skills are useful - but they're useful in the same way algebra, geometry, geography, and learning the finer points of diagramming sentences wind up being. Yes, they're massively useful if you're going into education as a profession; they're peripherally useful if you're thinking of going into an area where you'll need the practice at self-motivation, goal-setting, and meeting self-imposed targets. But for the vast majority of people, they're skills you learn in school, for school, and never need again throughout your working lifetime.

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Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful
Have a bundle of ideas in the making

So today I read something on Charles Stross' blog (pointed there from Making Light) for the first time in months. Then I started reading back through the prior list of posts on the front page, until I got to Designing Society for Posterity, an ideas post about the nature of society which would need to be created in order to handle Generation Ships (extremely long distance - interstellar - colonisation). Which sucked me in massively (not just the post itself, but at least the first eighty of the three-hundred something comments which followed). So, after pulling myself away from that for long enough to get the next batch of truffle mix into the fridge and chilling (prior to rolling things into balls and chilling again, then choc-dipping), I switched over to Shakesville - and promptly got pulled into another enthralling comments thread.

This has not been a good day for the housework. It's losing out in a major way to the distractions of teh intarwebs.

So today my readers get to have a mini-linkspam, along with reflections of my own.

First up - social engineering won't really be possible until we really have the tools to do the equivalent of performing maintenance on a social system while it's still running in such a way that the participants don't find such maintenance obtrusive or intrusive. At the moment, the only tools we have are fairly blunt ones, such as advertising, war, legislation and suchlike. They all have an effect, but often all they do is pass the problem on down the line for future generations to handle (to get an idea of how effective this isn't, consider that we're still dealing with fallout from a war which happened in Palestine in 69AD, and another which hit Afghanistan in roughly 325BC). So first we need to be able to fix potential problems fairly early on, before they expand outward with chaotic effects.

Second up - The issue of "who is a good guy" is one which highlights some of the current problems in our society - particularly our love of simplification and easy binaries. Humans are always going to be more complex than a mere binary axis can pinpoint, and so are human problems. This is why I always tend toward the notions of multiple solutions to a single identified problem, simply because there are always going to be underlying factors in every problem which aren't considered in an easy fix. For example, imprisoning people is the "easy" fix to the problem of crime - but it brings with it a range of different issues (such as the cost to the state as a whole of maintaining prisons and a justice system, dealing with the simple logistical issues of keeping them functional, and also coping with a society where prison culture is starting to shape a significant fraction of your population over time).

Third up - Every single time I see anything about the US political systems I wind up having at least one massive "WTF?" moment. The issue spoken about in the link is one which would be far more difficult to achieve here in Australia - mainly because the average Aussie tends to trust political parties about as far as they could heave the collected membership thereof, and therefore hasn't left anything significant in their hands. Voter data here belongs to the Commonwealth and State Governments (or in other words, to the Commonwealth and State public service) and there are some very strict rules about what can be collected, what can't be collected, what can be done with the data, who has access to it, who they can give the data to, how it can and can't be stored, and what's allowed to be done with it in the meantime.

Fourth up - Currency, cash flow and crime and the relations between all of these. One of the most basic things about money is that it devalues - this is a universal. It doesn't matter how solid the currency is, it will wind up devaluing in one way or another. To put it another way, all money is ultimately inflationary, whether legitimately acquired or illegitimately acquired. The process of resetting the value of $CURRENCY is generally nasty, since it gets started at the top of the tree, and winds up hurting everyone all the way down - those at the bottom of the heap get the worst of it. One other small reflection: I started to think the US economy had effectively gone down the tubes when Australian dollars were very near parity point with the US dollar - given the Australian economy is approximately 1/15th the size of the US economy, it's probably a pretty good indicator.

Finally - Girl Genius is still my favourite web comic. Endless fun, drama, suspense, thrills, action and, of course, Mad Science!!!

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More wibble

So for the last few days I have been mostly playing City of Heroes, or reading the stuff on [info - community] porn_battle on IJ, chasing down the FF7 anonymous kink meme on LJ or just generally futzing around the web a bit. I've also gone through my plot notes for one of my great big pieces of fic (the one that's at 24K words and counting) and re-organised them into some sort of structure, so I can actually find things. This involved a lot of copy & paste work, and as a result the whole business is now blown out to about 24K words as well. So I have an equal amount of pagespace spent on the plot notes and the actual factual plot. I'm not sure whether this is a good thing or not.

ISAGN:Spelling checkers with definitions available )

City of Heroes rambling )

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Current Mood: moody moody
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