At last, I know what a childhood of X-Men reading prepared me for: coping with the severe cognitive dissonance when different components of/perspectives on a fictional world are staggeringly different from each other in tone.
Except that, where X-Men (and similar) comics have passed through countless creative teams over several decades (and are a big enough thing to have all kinds of quirky sideline projects), in this case, said staggeringly-different aspects are written by the same person.
I'm now mostly caught up on K.B. Spangler's work in the A Girl and Her Fed (AGAHF) universe, which consists of the ongoing A Girl and Her Fed webcomic and five novels (so far), one of which is Not Like The Others. Oh, and the first of a planned series of novellas cheerfully (and accurately) codenamed "Joshsmut".
I came at this world...out of order, I guess, in that I started with the novels. I'd heard of the AGAHF comic and had been meaning to read it, but I do better with novels...and I didn't really realize how intertwined the projects are. Here's an io9 review of Digital Divide, the first Rachel Peng novel. (Four of the five novels currently available focus on Rachel.)
(Note: I'd heard of A Girl and Her Fed off and on for at least a few years, and had it on my to-read list before I mentally connected it to the Rachel books, but I never really looked into what it is...even though I always tripped, and still trip, over the title because I always parse it wrong. My instinct is still to read the "fed" as a conjugation of "feed", not as "federal agent", which makes no sense at all. How am I STILL DOING THAT?)
So Rachel was my gateway. Rachel as we meet her is a smart, driven, ex-military federal employee who's working as the liaison between the D.C. police force and her own federal agency, OACET, which is made up entirely of a large group of cyborgs. More specifically, a large group of cyborgs created in a catastrophically flawed project that took some of the best and brightest young civil servants from across the federal government, put chips in their heads, and left them collectively traumatized and disturbingly overpowered.
Emphasis on the "collectively". The (functionally nonexistent) "So You're A Cyborg" manual didn't have a chapter for "Welcome to Your New Hivemind! (Please stop screaming! Everyone can hear you!)"
Rachel's books start several years after all that, and several months after she's joined the above-mentioned police force, for the express purpose of helping to ease the public into the idea that Cyborgs Are People Too!, and super-useful to boot! And guys, I love Rachel dearly, so she was a great gateway for me. I kept going with her books until I discovered that the sole (so far) Hope Blackwell novel is set before Rachel's fourth book, so I opted to both read that book and finally backtrack to read AGAHF...
And it turns out that my X-Men experience is only barely up to this whole experience. ( cut for length; there's about as much text under here as there is above )
Two things of note:
1) Spangler is in the process of redrawing the first chunk of AGAHF. I don't know when she started doing that, or how quickly it's progressing, but the result is that the first 90-100 strips or so have been redrawn (each one linking to its original version) and have had some dialogue tightened and some plot holes smoothed out, but then you run out of redrawn art and get dropped into the original art style for a while, and it's...well, it's pretty jarring. (Here is the current/redrawn first comic; here is the original version. So you see.)
2) I'm not great at picking up things that call for content notes/warnings, unless they're pretty obvious. But one thing that bothered me, and recurred often enough that I feel like I ought to mention it, is the frequent use of "psychopath" (plus some instances of "sociopath") as a descriptor. ( briefly expanding on that; not very spoilery )
There's no compression of the love there is between a loyal dog and his loving owner. As any pet parent will attest, their love is something that cannot be matched or explained. This was even more so true when Judge Judy decided to put it to the test.
In Durham, NC, the night after Charlottesville, citizens tore down a Confederate statue. Police are investigating. Three of the crowd are turning themselves in. And, in a genuine I-Am-Spartacus! move, others are joining them.
Why quiet liberal Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia, became ground zero.
A positive and creative reaction to Nazis marching through your town -- don't just donate to anti-Nazi groups, but get out there and cheer them on as helping anti-Nazi groups. Confuses the hell out of them.
Why Robert Mueller is looking at Trump SoHo. Not about Confederates, but about working to throw a fascist out of the White House. And another piece of the Trump/Russia puzzle. Yes, it's probably slashy but I'm not interested to know the details.
And because of Charlottesville, Trump's two business councils dissolved themselves -- walked away. He, of course, took credit for disbanding them, but it was another lie.
Meanwhile, House Democrats are moving to formally censure Trump over his response to Charlottesville that indicated he was on the side of the Nazis and white supremacists.
In China, Facebook tests a stealth app. And how stealthy will it be if the NY Times is writing about it? Do they think they have no readers in China?
TED: How your brain decides what is beautiful. And let's end ageism. And the fascinating reason children write letters backward.
"Virtue signaling" isn't the problem. Not believing each other is. I'd add, not trusting each other.
Why some famous singers are ruining their voices. And yes, there are people whose voices I hear and it makes my own throat hurt.
Libraries are the real punk rock.
100 law professors have written to Trump to tell him there is no question that the Dream Act is Constitutional.
Amazon Prime comes with perks. They're not great perks, but show me a company that doesn't profit from supposed swag, and I'll sell you a bridge in Brooklyn. The one I use most often is Amazon Prime Music. Is the selection dubious? Sure. But it's "free".
This morning when picking "Happy Indie Pop" I saw this:
So, there’s some travel stuff coming up, maybe I can see some of you…?
There's possibly a little bit more to come, but I have to see how kids' schedules shake out.
....aaaaaand I'm late for Wednesday books, but that’s not much of a surprise by this point, right?
Dark Days Club, Alison Goodman – So very much a Regency Buffy, which is not a bad thing, just amusing. Good world-building, both the Regency and the demon stuff—I really felt like she loved both sources and worked hard to integrate them. I’ll have to see if the library has the next one.
A Queen From The North, Erin McRae, Racheline Maltese – You all know how much I love me a modern-day, marry-the-prince romance (well, when I’m not ranting about how poorly it was executed), and this one has the added catnip of an alternate history timeline that is actually rooted in the War of Roses and all of that fallout, so when I saw/heard this on one of the romance blogs (I’m thinking it was redheadedgirl on Smart Bitches, b/c our tastes tend to align) I snagged it up and inhaled it in a day. (I ask you: what’s not to love about a marriage-of-convenience-turned-real plot? Well, again: the execution of it all.) Verdict: goooooood. And more to come. The romance itself was a little low-key, but the supporting characters were good (and wonderfully not a solid wall of white-cis-het) and while yes, most of the obstacles could have been avoided by actual communication between the principals, it felt like everybody’s reasons for avoidance were real (stupid, but real, which is so true) so that worked for me—I am looking forward to the next in the series.
Warrior’s Apprentice, Lois McMaster Bujold, narrated by someone who was fine, but not worth going to find the listing as I write this – The House of Boys loooooves the Vorkosigans, and since I have worked my way through their other love (Dresden), I figured I’d go for these, too. I was entertained, though the cover image is horrible and I could have gone for someone reading this who was closer in age to the teenaged Miles. Minor quibbles, though. I need to line up the next one because #2Son is leading off our conversations as I leave the office with things like, “seriously, don’t be looking at your twitter feed at stoplights. You need to keep yourself distracted until you’re home,” which is probably not untrue. I’m really only reading to get to A Civil Campaign and the most recent novel about Cordelia, but I’ll go through the intervening steps.
The Darwath Trilogy, Barbara Hambly – I got sidetracked on this one b/c Dark Days was horribly overdue and then Queen came zooming in out of nowhere and totally sideswiped my attention, but I made myself pick it back up last night to keep from cycling through twitter endlessly.
I need to maybe grab the next Peter Grant or Vorkosigan on audio, and then go through what BabyBoy brought back from the Shared Worlds book giveaway. I’m 6 books behind on my book challenge, but part of that is because I get into series and end up reading 4 books where only 1 counts toward the specific trope or setting or whatever for the challenge.
( Text reads: )
RT'd on the New Orleans DSA Twitter account: "Out taillights are #1 reason for traffic stops. Traffic stops are especially perilous and life disrupting to undocumented immigrants and PoC. Good taillights provide a sliver of protection."
ETA: They changed the date.
Second, a Quaker response to Charlottesville from Baltimore Yearly Meeting Quoting: ( behind cut for length )
Third, the experience of Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville. ( Behind cut for length, but please, please read it. )
Fourth, a philosophical principle coined in 1945 could be a key US defense against white supremacists. It's the Paradox of Tolerance:
1. A tolerant society should be tolerant by default,
2. With one exception: it should not tolerate intolerance itself.
* musesfool is running an OPI Summer Challenge, and that is pretty much the funnest premise ever. So many good potential prompts to choose from.
* If I ever attempt to give the third season of Twin Peaks a fourth chance, somebody please come punch me in the mouth.
* Found out the next episode of Game of Thrones was leaked, but alas, I'd already been spoiled. Thanks, twitter.
* I really need to finish Mass Effect Andromeda when I'm home, but I haven't even looked at my Playstation the past two weeks *sigh*
* Of course, dumb me just started another game on my laptop, plus a couple of playthroughs on youtube, because why do anything that makes sense ever. Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice looks all kinds of intense, and I'm holding off watching more than the first play video since I do want to play it myself. But I'd need headphones I can use, hmmm... Meanwhile, I did make some icons.
(it really does look - and sound - amazing)
* Also, a vid rec list should be forthcoming shortly.
Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, so I thought I'd feature some appropriate cakes. However, I realize many of our younger readers may not be familiar with The King. So listen up, whipper snappers! Picture an older, more talented, better looking, Southern Justin Bieber wearing a white, bedazzled jumpsuit.
Also, he may or may not be dead.
Maybe don't picture that part.
Right. All together now? Then let's get started!
This is Elvis:
Rawr! Ffft ffft...
...is not Elvis. I'm thinking either Ray Liotta or Wayne Newton.
John claims this looks like Jimmy Durante. It's like I don't even know who he is anymore. (John, I mean. Jimmy I had to wiki.)
I'm going with Liza Minelli.
Oh! Wait! I know this one!
The Brawny paper towel guy!
And finally, Elvis:
Queen Amidala. Or maybe one of the guys from Menudo. (Thanks, John!)
No, no, I'm staying with Amidala.
Thanks to Paula H., Diana C., Connie B., and Chrissy K. who are all, collectively, nuthin' but hound dogs. And oh! The crying! ALL the TIME! Enough, already!
Ah thank you. Thankyouverramuuuch.
Update from john: The Munsters! The last one looks like the kid from The Munsters! I knew it was something with an "M" from my childhood.