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GhostbustersPoster

Late as usual, I finally saw Ghostbusters 2016 on Saturday. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Tumblr had loved it, but then Tumblr loves Jupiter Ascending and Pacific Rim vastly more than I do for things that I’m not really seeing in either.

On the other hand, when I first saw the promo material come out, I couldn’t believe it was true. I could not believe anyone would make a big budget mainstream comedy/sci-fi film, the reboot of a beloved cult franchise, and have every single one of the heroes be women. I spent a lot of time reblogging trailers and promo material while commenting “I don’t believe this is actually happening.”

Throughout the history of movies and TV, it’s been so prevalent to have all male lineups, maybe with a token female character who gets to be the love interest, that we’ve forgotten that it could ever be another way. Things have been slowly improving to the degree that in a lineup of – how many Avengers now? Seven? – there are two female characters. (But one of them gets to sit the film out because she’s too unstable.)

There are better franchises, of course. Suicide Squad has three women to five men (if my hasty count of the poster is to be believed.) And Mad Max had six women to two men, and Mad Max blew my mind by doing that. But it was still unthinkable to me, even in 2016, to have a film in which there wasn’t a male hero at all – all of them were female.

But hell, why not? It’s been a long time coming and there’s a lot of ground still to make up.

Anyway. It was almost total disbelief that they were even doing this at all that made me determined to go and see it, if only to show my support.

ghostbusters-2016-movie-trailer

I’m so glad I did! It’s one of the funniest films I’ve seen in ages. For someone who expected to be knocked off my feet by the fact that all the leads were female, I actually forgot about that the moment it started, because I was just caught up in the fact that these were people. It’s quite rare, in fact, for women to be written as people in mainstream media. They’re usually written as women first and individuals after. Which usually means I find it almost impossible to connect with them on any level.

These women though, with their scientific curiosity and fear and glee and indomitability were instantly understandable. Holtzmann’s awkward, honest speech at the end made me feel so much “emotionally repressed nerd tries to be open about her feelings,” sympathy. I know how that feels from the inside. Abby’s insistence on the perfect ratio of wonton to soup is not only something I would do myself, but was a great running joke that culminated in me laughing silently until my muscles hurt. What a joy it was to see Patti’s knowledge of history be as vital to the team as the science. And I wanted to cheer when she backed out of the room full of mannequins. You know you would have too. I certainly would!

I even loved Kevin, though he was a pointed bit of social commentary. Why not? We’re probably owed it. And anyway, who couldn’t love a man who called his dog Mike Hat?

I did totally rejoice in seeing the girls kick ghost ass and be gloriously good and competent at it, but by that time I had forgotten about other films in which that wouldn’t have happened. DH came with me, and I wondered what he made of a film where all the leads were women. He said he thought it was a better film than the first Ghostbusters, because it was funnier and it didn’t take itself too seriously.

I completely agree. I would also say how much better it was for not having a gratuitous ‘love story’ forced in there as ‘something for the women in the audience.’ I didn’t even notice there wasn’t one. The ‘something for the women in the audience’ was the whole film. For once, Erin, a woman, was allowed to be the everyman. That’s actually quite revolutionary and long overdue.


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

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It feels like everything that could be said about Mad Max: Fury Road has already been said, but I’m not going to let that stop me from trying anyway. I wasn’t even going to see it, initially. I remember that I watched one of the earlier films – it may have been Beyond the Thunderdome. It may have been the first Mad Max itself. I remembered it as a film in which there was a threatened or actual rape.

I bear grudges that way. A rape scene to me feels like the director chose to take me by the back of the head and rub my face in a pile of dogshit. I permanently resent any piece of media that does that to me. They didn’t have to. They presumably thought it would be entertaining, and that’s the part that I resent and loathe most. It’s not fun for me. I can’t imagine it’s fun for any other woman.

I see it in fact as part of a fear campaign designed to keep all women afraid – designed to control our actions by instilling in us a sense that we are perpetually threatened. And to remind us that men cannot be trusted, that they are our natural enemies, and that even the men we love are sitting there beside us and enjoying watching this.

So yes. I was not going to see this, despite being a big fan of Tom Hardy. Then of course I heard that Men’s Rights Activists were calling for a boycott of the film, and I thought Ohhh? Okay… Now I’m interested. Tom Hardy had already impressed me as someone capable of nuance and sensitivity, and now people were actually saying this was a feminist film? I kind of had to watch it after that, if only to see how a franchise I remembered as being all dicks on trucks could combine with feminism at all.

I still had low expectations, but OMG, I was blown away by what I saw.

There is not one sexual threat in this movie. That whole atmosphere in which women on film live their lives – that constant, unrelenting awareness that they exist to titillate the male gaze in one way or another, to be put in sexual danger so they can be rescued by a hero, or so their humiliation can be enjoyed by the male viewer – it was gone.

Right from the start, it was Max who was chased, threatened, had his bodily autonomy taken away, was used and traumatized. The disturbing scene where women were literally being milked for the sake of the warriors occurred in a context where we had already seen Max have his bodily fluids stolen for the sake of the same people. Shared objectification is not nice, but it is at least inclusive – we know we’re sharing a humiliation that the hero of the film has also been through.

And then it gets better, because here’s Furiosa, and she’s treated exactly like a male action hero. She’s never gawped at, she never has to do any stupid ‘girl power’ speech – she never has to do or say anything overtly feminist. She just is a hero the same way any hero is a hero. She does things, she’s good at them, she’s obviously overcome difficulties in the past, if she lost the arm whose bones are on her truck door. She decides her own fate, and commands troops, and she helps those who ask her for help, even if – like Max – they can only ask by looking at her in terror.

And you think the wives when they emerge, half naked in white muslin, are going to be the damsels in distress and the male gaze eye-candy of the film. Then they’re not. It’s awesome, and you can practically taste the way the camera is respecting them – treating their half naked bodies as just that, as bodies that are being bodies. Not bodies that are being sex objects. There’s no oggling, no leering. I’m not made complicit in treating them like they are my wank fodder. As it turns out, they have names, and characters. They are brave and resourceful, and they are people in a way women are not allowed to be on film.

That’s probably it, really. This film allows women to be people.

And there are so many of them! Heroic warrior women, clever, brave, capable non-warrior women. Rifle wielding, motorcycle riding old women who keep seeds in their bags to regenerate the world. Fat women whose first act on being freed is to give everyone as much water as they need.

There’s no expressing the revelation you feel on watching a scene in which there are two men and everyone else on screen is a woman. Because that happens all the time, the other way around, but never this way. One or two token women is the rule, and you get so used to it, you start celebrating when there are two women to six men. You stop even thinking of it ever being another way.

But Mad Max has taken the blinders off. What a strange world we live in, where it was Mad Max that raised the bar of actually treating women as people. But I certainly don’t intend to settle for less again.


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

Iron Man 3

May. 8th, 2013 07:46 am
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I don’t really have a lot to say about this. It was well made and entertaining, but it was nothing we haven’t seen before, and I think the attraction is wearing thin.

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I was uncomfortable with the Mandarin as a villain right up until the point where it was revealed that he wasn’t actually the problem, after which I was a bit mollified but it still left a bad taste in my mouth.  Is it OK to demonise someone if you then go “Haha! It was just a bluff.” Does it reflect badly on the film makers or does it just reflect badly on the film’s villain and thus make him more villainous?

I have to say that the Iron Man films have a remarkable run of creating villains who I don’t feel tempted to sympathize with whatsoever – villains who it’s really easy to both believe in and despise. This is an under-rated talent, IMO. After all, my resistance to heroes is so high that I generally end up cheering on the villains. I even rather liked Red Skull from Captain America. But while I think Ben Kingsley was the best thing in Iron Man 3, I’ve never been tempted to root for an Iron Man villain. Whether this is because Iron Man’s villains are so small-minded, so petty, and so clearly already possessed of everything that any rational person should learn to be content with, or because Tony Stark himself is drawn as a human enough hero to care about, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s both.

Still on the subject of the Mandarin, though, LOL, bless! Ben Kingsley can out charm Tony Stark any day.

Pepper in the suit was a disappointment, but Pepper with amazing fire powers was a pleasant surprise. Rhodey was awesome and I would probably watch a film in which Rhodey and Pepper teamed up to fight crime, with Jarvis as backup. Tony himself, meh. I’ve had enough of him for now. (Which made me quite approving of the ‘Tony hangs up his electromagnet and quits the superhero gig’ ending. Good for him. It was probably about time.)

 


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

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Edited quickly because this felt like something to share with my friends-list. HaikuJaguar on publicity and artistic insecurity:

http://threejaguarscomic.net/

~*~*~*~

Here is a lovely review of Captain’s Surrender http://julian-griffith.livejournal.com/27644.html which makes me smile not only with the joy appropriate to a good review but with the additional joy appropriate to a review that really seems to get what you were trying to do.

I’m also hugely pleased and honoured to have The Wages of Sin reviewed in Wilde Oats http://www.wildeoats.com/review_WagesOfSin.html which is a lovely magazine to which I keep meaning to submit a story or two, but never seem to write anything short enough.

Thanks so much to both of you!

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And on a completely different note, I was very happy to find both asexuals and the gender fluid on this list, but while the factoid about Captain Jack Harkness makes so much sense, I suspect they might be wrong on the osmosis front. At least, it’s never worked like that for me.

In fact, seriously, go to the tumblr for more Facts about Queers. I never knew the reason why I had such difficulty with computers was because I was non-binary, but that makes so much sense too :)

~*~*~*~

I have a few ideas for some longer blog posts, hurray! But now it’s just a matter of sitting down and writing them. And as one of them is about the fact that I have converted my computer desk to a standing desk, this might be easier said than done ;)


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I’m afraid I had a bit of an evil chuckle over this one. I scared myself writing some of the scenes, so I’m glad to know it was all worthwhile :)

http://meanfatoldbat.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/the-wages-of-sin-by-alex-beecroft-mm.html

It took me three tries to read it. Not because it’s poorly written. Oh, no, it’s just as beautiful, poetic, and immediately engrossing as all her other works have been. I couldn’t go on because my teeth were chattering and the shadows in the corner of the bedroom were moving… it’s very atmospheric. Very. Atmospheric. The book.

Thank you! And I’m sorry!

On the self publishing side, I’ve put my two Loki stories, with a new, longer one, up on Smashwords. So if anyone likes my all-mythology-all-the-time cheerfully amoral trickster version, rather than Marvel’s clearly-up-to-no-good psycho version, you can find that here:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/291064

I like the freedom with self-publishing to write stuff that doesn’t comfortably fit into genre lines. I don’t think I’m going to concentrate on it, but it’s nice to have it there as another string to my bow.

(Violin bow, I presume, because I can’t think why you would want more than one archery bowstring at once, unless you had more than one bow to go with them.)


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

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It’s so nice to see an older story get a new review. The Wages of Sin is very close to my heart, partly because it’s right in the centre of the venn diagram of my interests, being a historical, paranormal murder mystery, m/m romance. Partly it’s dear to me because it practically wrote itself – something that doesn’t happen to me often. And then again, partly it’s dear to me because of Jasper. Jasper – enough said ;)

200x300TheWagesOfSinEbbok

So it’s lovely to see this review from Sophia Rose at the Delighted Reader blog. I’m particularly glad I managed to get that balance right between Gothic (which I like) without being the kind of creepy-scary that makes you afraid to switch out the lights (which I don’t.)

http://www.delightedreader.com/posts/review-the-wages-of-sin-by-alex-beecroft/

All in all, I found this story with its touch of the Gothic an enjoyable reading experience that tingled my spine, but wasn’t horrifying enough to give me the willies and send me running to hide under my covers.    This will appeal to those who enjoy m/m historical ghost story romance with Gothic overtones.

Thank you, Sophia Rose!


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Which struck me as a more interesting way of saying “several small things served up together.”

Evidently I’m not alone in being puzzled and even depressed by the fact that there seems to be no place in this world for m/m romance with sparse sex scenes other than being lumped in with “erotica”. Elin Gregory (she of the awesome On a Lee Shore which I highly recommend to you if you like naval m/m) is sounding out readers and authors alike on the question of whether she should start new Facebook and Goodreads groups focusing on the sweet end of m/m romance. If you think that sounds like a good idea (I do!) hie thee over to her place and tell her so: Elin’s LJ

~

A lovely review for Under the Hill: Dogfighters from RT this month

Dogfighters RT

Though I can’t get used to the way people treat them as separate books. I should expect that – the fact that you can hold one in each hand should be a clue – but to me it’s always going to be one big story packaged in two volumes.

It’s probably worth while saying that I have learned from this experience not to write such huge books. Or – if I’m going to write such huge books – to do it in such a way that the pacing is suitable for two books rather than for one. (Dogfighters is the breathless acceleration to the climax of both books, and is not structured to be read as its own entity.)

I’d like to say I’ve learned that, but then I went off and wrote The Glass Floor, which is equally huge and equally structured as one big story rather than two episodes. We’ll have to see what becomes of that before I decide emphatically what lesson I ought to have learned and actually try to put it into practice.

~

Two days ago, someone awarded this blog a “Most Inspiring Blog” award, and I thought “oh, how lovely, I’ll talk about that tomorrow.” But then I didn’t talk about it yesterday because I was distracted by the need to rant. And today, I can’t find that blog again. I only found it in the first place because somebody came to my blog through a link, and that showed up on my site stats. But my site holds the stats only for yesterday and today. I can’t get back to ‘the day before yesterday’ to re-find that link.

If that was you and your blog, thank you so much! Any chance of a link so I can re-read the rules and keep the meme going?

~

And finally, thanks to everyone who expressed an opinion on what I should write next. It was a landslide vote for Hoist By His Own Petard – a morris dance romance. (With reenactors). Accordingly, I started working on a plot plan for that last night, and am looking forward to starting to write it next week.


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Heh, after writing that blog post about how to add more female characters to your novels, I immediately started worrying if I was a classic case of ‘do what I say, not what I do.’

With some relief I thought of Lady Farrant in False Colors, Emily in Captain’s Surrender, Krissy, Caroline and Alec’s mum in Shining in the Sun, Oonagh, Liadain, Grace and Phyllis in Under the Hill, Isobella in His Heart’s Obsession, Elizabeth, Mary, the ghost and Cook in The Wages of Sin, and Maria Cobham in By Honor Betrayed.

Surely after all that nobody would judge my feminist credentials on Blessed Isle, in which there are no speaking parts for women at all?

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Hah. I should have known. Because here is a fascinating scholarly review on Romance Novels for Feminists of that very book:

The politics of M/M romance and Alex Beecroft’s BLESSED ISLE

 

Fortunately I think she liked it anyway. Phew! :)


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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Unlike most people, I’m not a Peter Jackson fan. While I was as wowed and delighted by The Fellowship of the Rings movie as anyone, the travesty that was The Two Towers disenchanted me to such an extent that not even the largely-better-but-still-wrong Return of the King managed to rescue. I’m a purist, I freely admit it, and the thought of someone so tone-deaf to Tolkien’s worldview making three films based on the wonderful but slight story of The Hobbit made my skin crawl.

That didn’t stop me from going to see it, of course!

I made my low fat Slimming World crisps, smuggled them in in lieu of popcorn, and settled in with low expectations, imagining I was in for some beautiful pictures, a plot that mostly resembled that of the book I loved, and a moral slant that would have had the professor spitting acid. As it was the third that was most unforgivable to me in the LotR films, I was very happy to find that in The Hobbit I got the first two only.

The visuals are beautiful, there’s no doubt about that. I’d never imagined the city under the mountain to be so large and so properly-kingdomy. To tell the truth I’d imagined it as a great big hole in the ground, so I was pleasantly surprised to have my own thoughts much improved on. It was also nice to have the dwarves feature in a heroic epic. They are rather sidelined in the Silmarillion and in LotR, and it only seems fair to adapt The Hobbit into a similar tale from the dwarves’ POV.

I was pleasantly surprised by how little was made up, as opposed to being filled in and expanded on from the appendices to LotR. What was made up tended to irk me. The whole ‘lets give Thorin a named enemy among the orcs to heighten the tension, give him more motivation than simple survival, and provide him with a heroic arc’ thing, for example, annoyed me by being so… textbook cliche storytelling.

The same thing went for the invented “let’s give Bilbo an arc where he’s desperate to prove himself to Thorin,” thing, which struck me as rather undignified for a mature 50 year old gentlehobbit. Also, despite feeling glad to have a dwarven epic, I didn’t like the whole Thorin is a heeero, Look how heroic he is! Everyone’s overawed by his heroism, dudes, you should be too! thing. There’s nothing more likely to put me off someone than bludgeoning me over the head with scenes of everyone admiring him. CoughCanwesayMarySueCough. And I know from having read the book that Thorin is nothing of the sort, Bilbo is the hero of this story. Thorin is just a warrior. The two terms are not synonymous.

I found the way the film shifted tones from silly to epic and back to silly a little jarring. The book starts with silly and works up to epic so gradually you hardly notice the tone changing, but the movie tries to have both together and I’m not sure if it works. Particularly with Radagast. I also found the interminable chase and fight sequences as boring as I found the chase and fight sequences in Indiana Jones – which may be more of a personal preference thing than a legitimate critique. Possibly other people find those scenes more gripping.

On the positive side, Bilbo was perfect, and Balin was a wonderful surprise. Such a nice old lad. Fili and Kili were very engaging too, and I liked Bofur. I recognise Dwalin and Bombur, but I admit I can’t really pick any of the others out of a lineup by name. A bit more characterisation and a bit less “orcs talking like standard fantasy film badguys in subtitles” would have been good.

I sound very negative, don’t I? And I guess I came out feeling relieved it wasn’t any worse rather than overjoyed by how wonderful it was. But it really could have been worse, and it was nice to see Rivendell again. The White Council was as ineffective as I’d always imagined, and Thranduil on his battle-stag promises good things to come, so on the whole, I’m happier than I thought I would be, and looking forward to the next.


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

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snow-crash

Guess what I’ve just finished reading? I suspect it’s a classic that I ought to have read earlier. Certainly if I’d read it when it first came out in the nineties many of the things in it that reminded me of stuff I’d seen elsewhere, or mundane every day realities, would have seemed like dazzlingly weird imaginings. Some of the gloss is taken off, now that we’re living with things like 2nd Life and Google Earth, which would have been intact when yahoo groups were the most complicated thing on the internet.

Anyway, ten things. Five good, five bad:

Good:

1. This is the very definition of high concept. It bursts at the seams with new ideas, and even though reality has caught up with some of those new ideas now, you can still hear them sizzle.

2. Sumerian neuro-linguistic programming. Seriously, I luuurve almost all stories that hinge on forgotten technologies of ancient civilisations that look like magic to us now. I was going “oh, stop with the swordfighting and get back to talking about Babel and Asherah and the nam-shrub of Enki.” I need to find excuses to get the phrase ‘the nam-shrub of Enki’ into every day conversation.

This is the high concept thing again, but the nam-shrub of Enki gets its own entry, because the idea of there once existing a language that bypassed all the higher functions of the brain and moved people to act the way computer programming causes computers to act, is a delightfully new one to me. I knew of the idea of a primal language, of course, but the idea that it would work like programming on people was fascinating.

3. Good doggies. I loved the rat things, even if they reminded me of the metal dog in The Ballad of Halo Jones. I don’t know which came first, but I loved both – so it’s all good.

4. Everyone is a character of colour – and this was first published in 1992.

5. Gated communities turned into independent countries, and run as franchises by enterprising individuals like Uncle Enzo of the Mafia and Mr. Lee’s Greater Hong Kong. It’s a fun idea and doesn’t actually sound too impossible.

Bad:

1. (But appropriate) The characters are as flat as video game characters – they don’t have personalities other than their skills and appearances. These are designed to be cool, but they give off a ‘so desperate to look cool they just look like sad posers’ vibe to me.

2. Far too much ‘Look at all the hard edged urban crime-war grittiness! Isn’t it exciting?” for me. Possibly I’m just over-exposed to American urban crime-war grittiness as a genre, which would not have been such a problem when it first came out.

3. So YT’s mum gets interrogated by the Feds and reveals that she knows of the existence of a drug that can scramble the brains of programmers just by looking at a bit map. There’s lots of heavy angst and foreshadowing around this. And then nothing happens, and when YT gets home from being kidnapped, her mum’s there, apparently unharmed and unaware that her daughter has been missing for months, and everything’s back to normal? Does not compute.

4. Raven is the coolest badass ever to badass, and I suspect we’re supposed to think it’s glamorous and/or attractive, but actually it’s just the most extreme case of ‘my author thinks I’m hot, so you should too,’ I’ve seen in quite a while. Actually this goes for the hero, Hiro, too. I can’t take seriously anyone who calls himself ‘Hiro Protagonist.’

5. How convenient it is that YT discovers she has the hots for Raven, given that it’s pretty clear that she doesn’t actually have the choice to say no to him. It struck me as a nasty case of ‘how to rape your 15 year old heroine and pretend you didn’t,’ and it spoiled any pleasure I might have had in YT’s cleverness. Although the fact that she was passed from hand to hand between all the powerful men in the story for them to patronise and admire for her cute spunkiness didn’t help either.

On balance:

Still seriously worth reading. My life would be so much poorer without the nam-shrub of Enki in it. And having said all the bad stuff, it was still gripping and entertaining throughout. Even the bad bits were not that bad, when weighed against the good.


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This is not a review of the new Spiderman film because I don’t have an awful lot to say about it. I went to see it yesterday with the kids, and we all enjoyed it (verging on ‘enjoyed it very much’.)

450px-Gen_Con_Indy_2008_-_costumes_171

I certainly enjoyed it more on the whole than The Avengers. That is, while I loved The Avengers immoderately for the first three quarters, I came out of it bitterly disappointed in the end. Partly I think this was because there had been enough time spent on the characterisation in Spiderman for me to really care about what happened to the characters. And a 17 year old can get away with being emotionally constipated and unable to express himself far better than the more grown up heroes. Also because the end of the film made sense in the context of the rest of it. The build up was good, the climax fitted it, and the whole thing reinforced the film’s theme of there being something noble in everyone, which is a theme that I like to see.

What I like about Spidey (as opposed to Batman) is that he’s light on the angst and the manpain. Batman, frankly, takes itself far too seriously. I don’t want my superhero films to be ‘realistic’ – where ‘realistic’ means ‘believes that everything is shit.’ I want my superhero films to defy that, to dare to have hope. This version of Spiderman’s origin story didn’t quite escape the canon angst, but at least there were some moments early on that made me laugh, and a genuinely heartwarming moment later (with the cranes) that made me think ‘yes, humanity is worth saving, so there!’

I didn’t come out with a buzz and an urge to write fanfic, which is my test for a top quality film, but I did enjoy it more than most things I’ve watched recently. Hm, I think for me that makes it good but not great.

Do I want to go and see The Dark Knight Rises? I’m not sure. Because of the ‘realism,’ Batman is often too nasty for me. I like Nolan, I like Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon Levitt, but I don’t like the nihilism. I don’t think it’s really realistic at all, though like all ideas it forms human reality around it. I may pass and watch it on DVD later.


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Which confused me no end as I didn’t think the book was out yet. I suspect this is one of those pre-release reactions from people who got the ARC to review. At any rate, they liked it :) But the review is a single quote from the book followed by a single sentence ie, too short to quote here. If you’re interested, you can find the whole thing here:

http://instalove.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/his-hearts-obsession/

Thanks so much to One-Quote Review!


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I went to see The Avengers on Saturday. Being a massive fan of the Iron Man, Thor and Captain America movies, and a long-term reader of The Mighty Thor comics (though I’ve switched allegiance now that Loki has his own series) I had EPIC FEELS about this one. I’d been looking forward to it at fever pitch for months.

Marvel Avengers Assemble - Loki

Which makes me rather sad to report that I don’t know what I think, now that I’ve seen it. I’m having a moment of cognitive dissonance here, because I enjoyed it thoroughly for about 90% of the way, and then in the last 10% I found myself getting more and more disenchanted until by the very end I came out feeling profoundly disappointed. I simultaneously thought it was awesome, and hated it.

I’ve spent all day today trying to figure out why.

Recap of the plot and spoilers everywhere below:


Read the rest of this entry » )

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five-star- -DIK-read-2

I’m so relieved – that gap between first publication and first review is always so full of angst. Will anyone like it, or will I have to change my name and tattoo someone else’s face on top of mine just to show myself in public again?

But mega thanks to Leslie S for a review that made me squee repeatedly. (Yay, so delighted that Mr. Smith gets a shout out. He was a favourite of mine too.)

It’s too long and detailed a review to sum up here. I’ll just link you to it

http://www.reviewsbyjessewave.com/2012/04/04/bombers-moon/

and quote the conclusion:

“This is quite simply a perfect story—no slow moments, no ‘meh’ characters, gorgeous writing, a complex and coherent plot. I cannot wait to read the second part, Dogfighters, which is released in May and which I’ll be reviewing later this month. Fantasy fans absolutely must pick up this book—and if you’re not a fantasy fan, I urge you to get it anyway—you won’t be disappointed.”

Thank you so much, Leslie!

~

And to celebrate both the review and the heroism of Mr. Smith, here is that excerpt I promised you yesterday.

A bit of background – Ben knows the elves are trying to kidnap him. He’s been given an amulet to protect him, which is basically a teaspoon of holy water in a BPAL imp. With this on him, the elves do not seem to be able to touch him directly. However, they are clever creatures and are slowly figuring out ways to get around that.

At half past one, Ben went back to work after lunch, spent a good couple of hours doing filing in the haunted basement. He’s just come out to the bank proper again, and discovered that it is still half past one. And that’s only the start of the creepiness:

EXCERPT


Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)

I suppose they could just be being thorough, in reading the second book in the series to see how it ends, but it’s still a thrill :) They call it a “brisk and engrossing sequel to Bomber’s Moon” and say “it’s a treat for readers who like their romance with a healthy dose of adventure.”

Full review here: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-60928-725-2

They weren’t so sure about my scenery this time around, but I put that down to the fact that this half of the book is set in Elfland, and I felt I had to describe it more carefully than I described the stuff in our own world. My theory being that I shouldn’t rely on the reader to fill in the setting from their own experiences, since it was unlikely any of them had visited it.


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)

Wow, the Under the Hill books have just had their first review and they’re not even out yet. What’s even more exciting is that it’s a good one, and it’s by Library Journal Reviews, so I guess I can keep my fingers crossed for the books to be available in a few libraries once they’re out. After all the furore about RWA recently, it’s also nice to see them listed with two m/f romances and no attempts at segregation at all.

The review is by Kristi Chadwick and concludes “From World War II to Faerie, ghosts to dragons, war to romance, there is a little bit of everything in these books. Beecroft (By Honor Betrayed) weaves together a wonderful pair of books with interesting characters and more than enough twists to keep the reader surprised until the end. …. Those who enjoy complex fantasy stories with nontraditional pairings will enjoy this ebook duo.”

Full review here.

Huzzah! Thank you Kristi. It’s always scary waiting for the first review and wondering whether it’s going to be good or bad. I’m really relieved to have it so successfully behind me before I’d even started to worry :)

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)

I don’t know that I ever posted about seeing Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows just before Christmas. I ranted about it on Yahoo groups instead. Basically I thought it was fun, with some lovely explosions and much to recommend it to lovers of big guns, but I felt it would have been much improved if it hadn’t been sold as Sherlock Holmes, because they have taken away almost everything that makes Holmes Holmes and Watson Watson.

I should hurry to clarify that it’s not that I don’t believe Holmes and Watson could handle themselves in a fight. Of course they could. Holmes bending a fire-poker into a circle as a demonstration of strength is one of the lasting impressions I have of the stories, and I remember that he was trained in some (possibly made up) form of martial arts. But he rarely had to use either of these things, because the stories were about his ability to solve crimes by intelligence, observation and the deductive method. None of which was really in evidence in the film.

It’s not so much the overwhelming action-heroness that makes me feel film!Holmes is OOC, though. It’s mainly that book!Holmes was neither a slob nor a flirt. Possibly film!Holmes is both of these in order to appear manly for an American audience which is already inclined to find Englishmen effeminate. But if that’s so you wouldn’t expect the film makers to then put him into a dress.

Or perhaps they only felt they could get away with putting him into a dress if it was played for laughs? I have to say that I found the whole “LOL! Holmes is in a dress and he and Watson look like they’re having sex in a train carriage, the fangirls will love this!” episode acutely annoying.  For crying out loud, this is 2012. Subtext that you then go out of your way to disprove is no longer daring. You want to suggest they might be gay, go ahead and actually make it text. Deal with it like it’s a real thing and not a joke. Otherwise you look like you’re sniggering behind your hand at something that isn’t funny. Why is a man in a dress funny? Why is it a joke that Holmes and Watson could actually be a couple? It isn’t, and it annoys me no end to see it treated that way.

The film also pissed me off in the matter of Irene Adler. I didn’t like the fact that she was made out to be (a) Holmes’ girlfriend and (b) a damsel in distress in the first film, but I didn’t like even more her being treated as disposable in the second film and replaceable by another typical, cloned spunky female sidekick. She was special, damn it. A Victorian author wrote her as a female character who out-clevered Sherlock Holmes and who Holmes admired and maybe even revered for her brain. How is it that a Victorian author can have more respect for his female characters than a modern film maker? That’s rather sad.

TL/DR – I enjoyed the film as a semi-steampunk romp with original characters, but disliked it intensely as a representation of Sherlock Holmes.

Fortunately, my ruffled feathers were almost immediately soothed by the new series of the BBC’s Sherlock.

I’d been worried about this, because I’d been told that they were doing Irene Adler as well, and teaser trailers had been seen that implied she and Sherlock were in some kind of sexual relationship. I should come clean and say that I have always, always seen Sherlock Holmes as someone who was simply not interested in sex at all. My position on the “is he with Watson, or is he with Irene Adler” question is “No.” And that’s always been very important to me (possibly for reasons related to my “things I realised during 2011” post.)  In my mind, if done right, Sherlock Holmes is not a sexual being, and I was all prepared to be sad and disappointed by this episode if they had dropped the ball and decided that he couldn’t be a real man without shagging someone.

But they didn’t, thank God. Instead they did an almost perfect blend of genuine intellectual fascination, a tiny bit of maybe, possibly romantic interest and a great deal of the same thing he did when he met Watson – showing off in order to dazzle an appreciative audience. Of course she fascinates and attracts him on a mental level, so does Moriarty – they’re dangerous and clever and a fun challenge, and they stop him getting bored.

I didn’t particularly like her being in love with him. Canonically, she’s deeply in love with someone else when they meet. Which is only sensible, because Holmes is not the right kind of person to be in love with. (Poor Molly from the hospital. But on the other hand, grow some self-respect, girl, and stop setting yourself up for this.) OTOH, Irene Adler is a sexual being and Sherlock’s got all the same qualities of intellectual fascination and is quite attractive, so I don’t mind that too much. (But what? Didn’t she say she was gay? Does that mean we’re supposed to accept that he’s just so gorgeous that even lesbians fall for him? Hm… I don’t see it, myself.)

I loved Irene Adler as a character – I thought the dominatrix thing was a good way to update the whole element of sexual scandal (because, like it or not, if a young female royal was found to be visiting a professional domme there would be a scandal, even nowadays.)  She was such a powerful presence physically as well as mentally and it was lovely to see her make mincemeat of Sherlock both ways. She needs her own series.

I rather resented the fact that they changed the end to allow him to end up triumphing over and finally rescuing her. That didn’t happen in the book. (See above about Victorian authors and sad things.)

I also really loved the perplexed reactions of everyone around Sherlock as they all tried to figure out how this relationship worked and what it meant, using models that just didn’t fit. In the story, Watson sounds puzzled and slightly disbelieving about the way Sherlock is not interested in women but nevertheless regards Irene as THE woman, and the same disconnect was wonderfully shown here.

Other things that made me squee – Sherlock’s reaction to Mrs. Hudson being manhandled by the CIA man. Defenestration was too good for him. Mrs. Hudson also continues to be unexpectedly awesome in a frail old lady way. The Flight of the Dead. Mycroft being all BAMF!big-brotherly. Sherlock in a sheet being infantile in return. That brief moment where Sherlock and Mycroft reassure each other that there’s nothing wrong with being cold bastards set slightly apart from the rest of the human race. Low Tar sympathy for short term relationships. John, who could have been overshadowed this episode, somehow managing to be even more awesome (and awesomely put-upon) than usual.

And I like the fact that everyone assumes John and Sherlock are a couple. Of course they do – they look like a couple, they behave like a couple, so naturally everyone assumes they are together. No sniggering or subtext required, even if it does exasperate John, who is blithely unaware that he’s in the closest thing Sherlock will ever have to an intimate relationship. (Though John’s newly-ex-girlfriend clearly knows the score.)

TL/DR – there were some things I wasn’t sure of, but on the whole it was delightful. Funny, insightful, clever and right. I can’t wait for the next episode.

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)

Hee! I want to say that this is a good way to start the new year, but actually it’s more that it’s a good way to end the old one :)

five_star_read_icon1

with this lovely review from Jessewave’s blog:

If you are looking for a lovely historical from a talented author, look no further than By Honor Betrayed.

Thank you ever so much to Aunt Lynn!

And speaking of which, I have just had an email from Diesel ebooks saying that they are featuring By Honor Betrayed as their Deal of the Day on 01/03/2012. I will try mightily to remember to remind everyone of that a bit closer to the time, but I suspect I may not manage it.

I wasn’t really familiar with Diesel ebooks before this, but their site looks interesting, and I would be glad for an alternative to Amazon. They also pay you for submitting reviews, which sounds like a bargain :)

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)

Yay! This is wonderful :) By Honor Betrayed is a SiN five star read! I can’t say how delighted I am. After such a long time with nothing new out I’d lost any confidence I might have had about whether I could do this writing lark. So getting some lovely reviews gives me a big boost to carry on. Thank you to SiN!

http://speakitsname.com/2011/11/16/review-by-honor-betrayed-by-alex-beecroft/

This part amused me:

Sex-wise, I think this is probably the smuttiest book that Alex has ever written, as she leans towards the more veiled sex scene as a rule, but the sex here is postively coarse (but great!). To quote one of the judges on Strictly Come Dancing “It was filthy and I loved it!”

as the only review I have on Amazon so far doesn’t think there’s enough sex. I’d like to think I can add the two opinions up to make “there aren’t many sex scenes, but the ones there are are good.” :)   I had to save some writing space for the swashbuckling!

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft.

alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)

I was very bad last Saturday and totally forgot to attend a chat for members of the Macaronis.  In my defence, my husband had come home with tickets to see the Demon Barber Roadshow, and after that everything else fled from my mind.

Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t look at this picture without a massive internal squee.  Is this not the coolest thing ever?

TGP_PROMO_web

So at the prospect of a night in the theatre watching a roadshow based on a fusion of hip-hop, clog, rapper and morris dancing, I dropped everything and ran out, only regretting that I hadn’t taken time to change into my morris kit first.

This will give you a better idea than I can about what I saw

Read the rest of this entry » ).

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