an online timeline

Jul. 20th, 2017 01:34 am
solarbird: (tracer)
[personal profile] solarbird

I've been maintaining an offline official timeline of canon for On Overcoming the Fear of Spiders and all the in-universe stories written seperately and collected in intersections in the web of time, and now that I'm making some headway on Old Soldiers, I thought I'd format and post the thing.

It's pretty big. It includes a fair number of things that happened in Fear of Spiders that did not make it into the manuscript or any following story, and also contains a couple of first-chapter background-info spoilers for the new story. So if you're allergic to that sort of thing, don't read it. If you're not, you might find some new background you might enjoy.

Official timeline of the Fear of Spiders Overwatch AU
[solarbird at Archive of Our Own]

an online timeline

Jul. 20th, 2017 01:34 am
solarbird: (Default)
[personal profile] solarbird

I've been maintaining an offline official timeline of canon for On Overcoming the Fear of Spiders and all the in-universe stories written seperately and collected in intersections in the web of time, and now that I'm making some headway on Old Soldiers, I thought I'd format and post the thing.

It's pretty big. It includes a fair number of things that happened in Fear of Spiders that did not make it into the manuscript or any following story, and also contains a couple of first-chapter background-info spoilers for the new story. So if you're allergic to that sort of thing, don't read it. If you're not, you might find some new background you might enjoy.

Bah

Jul. 19th, 2017 10:12 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Reliable sources report the death of Jordin Kare.

Caturday, with lots of kittens

Jul. 19th, 2017 02:45 pm
madfilkentist: The Catmobile at Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society (Catmobile)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
Lots of kittens in the Kitten Room today! Four black ones and a tabby with white! Two of the black kittens, Fox and Jag, were playing like crazy, and batting at me as I was trying to fill out the form on their cage.

Freud

Sunshine was allowed out of her cage and wanted to get out of the room as well. A new cat is named Freud (above), and he is indeed a joy. He was very friendly with both Virginia and me.

Cat cushion

Ce n'est pas un chat. I kept looking at that cushion and thinking it was a sleeping cat, or maybe a tribble.

Two weeks ago, I talked to Virginia about getting scratched by cats, and Ladyslipper immediately scratched her. Last week I said I hadn't been scratched myself yet at the shelter, and this week Ladyslipper put an end to that record as I was cleaning a shelf next to her. I'd better be careful not to give her any more ideas.

Joni Mitchell was adopted. I hope her temperament is better in a home where she isn't surrounded by lots of other cats in close quarters.

2017 WSFS Business Meeting Staff

Jul. 19th, 2017 11:21 am
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
[personal profile] kevin_standlee
Because some private correspondence shows me that not everyone with a concern about WSFS politics is aware of it, let me make it clear that the people managing the 2017 WSFS Business Meeting in Helsinki are:

Chair: Kevin Standlee
Deputy Chair: Donald Eastlake III
Secretary: Linda Deneroff
Timekeeper: Paul Dormer
Videographer: Lisa Hayes

WSFS Division Head: Michael Lee

I take no offense that not everyone knows I was chairing this year. I am, however, proud of my ongoing accomplishment, as this will be the fifth country in which I've presided over WSFS. (Scotland, USA, Canada, and Japan — the last pictured in my user icon here — are the earlier ones.) I don't think other past WSFS Chair has more than two countries under their belts. I hope to justify the Worldcon 75 committee's faith in my ability.

Saaaaaaaaavvvvvvveeee mmmmmeeeeeeee

Jul. 19th, 2017 10:00 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
It turns out you can connect Calibre directly to Project Gutenberg.

Having downloaded a bunch of public domain books, I then went looking for the proper cover art. Interestingly, although I am convinced I owned mid-1970s editions of both Blackman's Burden and Border, Breed nor Birth, I can find no evidence those editions actually existed.

Another interesting thing. This is the list of science fiction books on PG and this is the list of science fiction works by women on PG.

Westercon Business Page Updated

Jul. 18th, 2017 07:32 pm
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
[personal profile] kevin_standlee
Linda Deneroff has completed the minutes of the Westercon 70 Business Meeting and the updated for 2017-18 (thus for Westercon 71) version of the Westercon Bylaws & Standing Rules. We've updated the Westercon Business Page with the latest versions of the documents and "demoted" last year's information to the "Past Papers" version of the site.

Fig and the big window

Jul. 18th, 2017 06:07 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Things that do not inspire Fig to go into hunting mode:

A baby rabbit

Things that do inspire Fig to go into hunting mode:

A robin
A 50 kilogram dog
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

“There is a common poor attempt at a joke … that consists purely in stringing together a series of marginalized identities and calling attention to it … as if the mere existence of someone like that would be so absurd it could only be laughable.”

Invisible 3 CoverAlliah is one of the contributors to Invisible 3, which came out on June 27 and includes 18 essays and poems about representation in science fiction and fantasy. You can order the collection at:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords | Google Play

Any profits from the sale of the collection go to Con or Bust, helping fans of color to attend SF/F conventions.

As with Invisible and Invisible 2, the contributors to this third volume have shared work that’s heartfelt, eye-opening, honest, thoughtful, and important…not to mention relevant to so much of what we see happening in the genre today.

#

Our Hyperdimensional Mesh of Identities

Growing up in the 90s and early 00s in the south-east of Brazil, all I saw in mainstream media were the same repetitive, harmful and offensive stereotypes about travestis in telenovelas and badly written comedy TV shows, and the effeminate gay men and macho lesbian women token characters whose non-conforming gender expression was grossly caricatured for cheap laughs.

As an openly queer young girl in school, I learned that I could be queer, but not too much, not too visibly. I’ve heard those laughs, and I internalized through bullying and ridicule that I should change how I presented myself to the world—which I did really fast by becoming the stock image of a non-threatening feminine girl, although I never hid my sexuality. My first awkward attempts at a masculine gender expression didn’t have time to blossom. I shoved it down some unreachable recess of my mind and avoided it for 10 years, which (along with compulsive heterosexuality and a binary cisnormative culture) is why it took me so long to understand my bisexuality and figure out my transmasculine non-binary gender identity.

Once I did, I uncovered a gender euphoria I’ve been cultivating ever since.

It took me years to understand the ways in which I inhabit my queer transmasculine genderfluid neuroatypical body, and my most powerful illumination came unexpectedly through the stories of a queer non-binary neuroatypical green witch: Elphaba Thropp, the Wicked Witch of the West.

Wicked: Cover ArtI first met her in the book series The Wicked Years by Gregory Maguire, where most aspects about her gender and sexuality were ambiguous or obscured between the lines, and later in fan fiction, where the depths of Elphaba’s intersectional identities (canon or not) could be explored to the fullest by writers that shared those same identities.

Despite being an avid reader of speculative fiction since childhood, it was only after these encounters with trans and non-binary characters in fan fiction during the first half of my twenties that I started researching these topics, that I found out where I belonged. I discovered a thriving community of authors from marginalized groups creating astonishing rebellious versions of every world I’ve ever dreamed of and countless others I couldn’t imagine would be paramount to my process of liberation.

I owe it mostly to the fictional characters and their creators that illuminated me—from early readings like Virginia Woolf’s Orlando to the most recent fan fiction stories about a non-binary autistic Elphaba, a genderfluid bisexual Korra (from The Legend of Korra), and an agender transhumanist Root (from Person of Interest). I wish I could’ve met them sooner. Along the way to self-discovery, I had to collect all sorts of missing pieces with jagged edges and weird fractal shapes, and figure out a way to put them together myself. I was lucky to stumble upon the stories that I did and then to be able to find the communities that I needed. That’s why representation is vital. You cannot search for something you don’t even know exists.

There is a common poor attempt at a joke (that I’ve seen in both Anglophone and Brazilian online spaces), often directed at dehumanizing non-binary people and mocking activists working at the multidimensional core of intersections, that consists purely in stringing together a series of marginalized identities and calling attention to it, using the accumulation of these identities as a joke in and of itself, as if the mere existence of someone like that would be so absurd it could only be laughable.

One of the things fantasy author Jim Anotsu and I wanted to acknowledge when we wrote the Manifesto Irradiativo—our call to diversity and representation in Brazilian speculative fiction—is that our lives cannot be reduced to an isolated shelf in a bookstore or a niche market, thus we cannot be constrained to discussing the realities of our identities in those compartmentalized terms. We’re so much more than single-issue stories, than the same old one-dimensional narratives constructed to serve the gaze of the oppressor without making them examine their privileges and dismantle their systems of violence.

Those single-issue stories exist and persist for several reasons concerning the maintenance of racial, economic, and social power, amongst them because there is a fear of “too much” diversity. As if a book about a bipolar asexual bigender Afro-Brazilian person, for example, would scare away or alienate the common reader—who is always presumed to be the neurotypical cis straight white default that can handle only one unit of diversity at a time, served lukewarm, unseasoned. But as Audre Lorde said in a 1982 speech at Harvard University: “There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.”

Stories matter. And we shouldn’t have the full extent of our existences cut, segregated, and dimmed in them. We deserve to live as a hyperdimensional mesh of identities when they want to flatten us, to be loud when they want to silence us, to occupy the spaces that have been negated to us, and to be wonderfully written and represented as such.

***

Alliah/Vic is a bisexual non-binary Brazilian writer and visual artist working in the realms of the weird and pop culture. They’re the author of Metanfetaedro and have various short stories published in themed collections and on the web. They’re currently building too many independent projects, working on their first novel, and haunting your internet cables. Find them tweeting at alliahverso and newslettering in Glitch Lung. Or buy them a coffee at ko-fi!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Fig and Ibid still need rehoming

Jul. 17th, 2017 09:40 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll


In case the photos don't show up with the embed

Read more... )

a carefully staged improvisation

Jul. 17th, 2017 02:58 pm
solarbird: justice rains on your face (pharah)
[personal profile] solarbird
At lunchtime Overwatch, I was in quickplay, and someone popped into comms, which is unusual for quickplay games. So I identified as Pharah, and said something like 'team chat in quickplay? Okay, that's unusual, cool' and he was all "hey, you're close to going silver, how's it feel?" and I answered in all seriousness, "Honestly, I didn't even know what that meant until somebody else mentioned it about ten levels ago," at which point he said "oh, well, okay, you're just retarded."

So I vocalised into the mic, "oooookay... social... team chat... disconnect" as I did exactly that.

I proceeded to four-gold, and captured the first point nearly solo while everyone else but Sombra was trapped at spawn. (And, credit where it's due, Sombra definitely helped with the capture, mostly on the second third.) Yes, 1 to 2 on 4-6, depending upon how many could rush back at any given time to defend, and winning.

I can do a lot even for even a spectacularly shitty team when I'm on a roll - and I was.

Sadly, I couldn't capture the second point the same way, because the enemy were on to my tricks at that point, but, well, whatever. Four golds. I worked hard to make sure I had 'em all.

I then switched to Widowmaker on the flip side (defence) and popped in to team chat quietly for a second for a reaction, just in time to hear the same jackass bitching about everything, particularly the Widowmaker. And I popped back out.

We proceeded to lose, but I golded in objective kills and I think objective time but I'm not sure. (Might just have silvered.) As we're seeing all that, I pop back into team chat, and they're going at each other, just being salty as fuck.

So I hit my mic and say, "And this is why you don't call your four-gold 'retarded' - she might decide to play Widowmaker next round. Bye!" and dropped.

I realise this kind of snippery is not necessarily the best possible response to this kind of jackass? But I'm thinking, y'know, maybe he might be a little bit hesitant to let that shit fly right out the gate next time. Maybe. Because you really, really don't know who you might be playing with.

(For the record: I actually am trying to learn Widowmaker, that's why I'm playing her in quickplay a lot at the moment. Best kill streak with her so far is I think 12, max kills with her is 23, I've earned the Pixel spray but not the Cute. So if the team I'm with is any good, I'm not a joke, I'm a legitimate contributor, I often gold in objective kills with her, and I always play the best I can at any time. I always play to win. Even here.)
solarbird: (tracer)
[personal profile] solarbird

This is not part of the on overcoming the fear of spiders continuity; Lena Oxton is Tracer, not Venom. It is a standalone story, in an AU which is still pretty much canon-compliant as of July 2017. It would be set in late 2077 or early 2078, in universe. [AO3 link]


"It is not easy to explain," said the Widowmaker, looking frustrated, fixated on her game screen and sitting next to Hana Song, who of course had her own pro rig and client.

Widowmaker had said that, not Amélie, and it was very important not to get that wrong. The Widowmaker didn't like it, and if Amélie had an opinion - or was in there at all - she never spoke up.

The blue assassin was playing a shooter game, but not as a sniper - as a melee character, high DPS, fast - not entirely unlike Tracer. She always played the same character. Tracer wasn't sure what that meant; Angela told her not to read too much into it, but she knew that Lena tended to think of it as a good sign anyway. It's still shooting people, but it's shooting people in a different way, and Lena couldn't help but feel a little flattered that if the spider was emulating anyone, it was her.

"I exist," the spider continued, as her character on screen ran across open field between buildings towards some sort of objective. "I am here. I exist by right of existence. I do not wish not to exist." Realising that - she knew, herself - had been a big step for her, one she had managed on her own, one taken before she escaped from her controllers with a surprisingly complete list of Talon embedded agents to exchange for her sanctuary.

"And Talon didn't agree with that, did they." Tracer replied.

"No. I was supposed to be an asset, not a person."

"And Angela doesn't entirely either, does she." It was a statement, not a question.

Widowmaker glanced briefly at Tracer, just with her eyes, just a little surprised, before her focus snapped back to the game. "No. She still thinks I am some folded-up version of her former friend. I am not."

The spider saw that Tracer nodded her agreement. Of all the people here, she thought, only Tracer seems to understand even this much. Perhaps it was the younger woman's experience as a ghost, after the Slipstream accident. Perhaps it was being an Omnic War orphan. Perhaps it was just her nature. The spider didn't know.

Tracer watched the two women game, but really watched Widowmaker think. She's close to something, I can feel it, she thought to herself.

"Is this why you won't let Angela undo any of Talon's work?" Widowmaker had adamantly refused any attempt to reverse any of the physical changes Talon had made, though she tolerated anything she could decide qualified as an "improvement." That included giving her control over her own emotional dampers. Handling that was still a learning process.

"Yes," replied the blue assassin. "I am me. I am not that other woman, even if she was the source for some of my parts. I cannot be her. I do not want to be her."

"I get that, luv," said the Londoner. That part didn't matter to Lena. It was easier, for her, if Amélie was dead, if she was gone, and buried, and this was Widowmaker, another person entirely, just happened to look a lot alike. "Y'know, personally, I like the blue," she said. Makes it easier, she thought.

"You may be the only one, myself aside," replied the spider.

"Hey, n00b," Hana said, "Cover your flank or you're gonna get p0wned."

"Thank you," Widowmaker replied, sweeping left, hitting far more than she missed. D-pad instead of mouse or rifle, she was built for aim.

"Nice shot! For a game controller. You should level up to a real interface."

"Perhaps never," said the assassin.

"Okay," replied the gamer, "don't listen to the professional."

"...point taken," replied the blue woman, as the round ended, with scores D.va 100, bad guys 12, Widowmaker 10.

"I'm outta D.ritos. Want anything?"

"No thank you."

"Just ate, luv, but thanks."

"Be right back!" she said, as she jumped backwards over her chair and headed out to the hallway.

Widowmaker leaned against the rec room's couch, watching the game's idle screen. "I like the character I am playing, more than the game itself. I think that is not too unusual, no?"

"Sure!" Lena answered, encouragingly. "That's why there are fan sites and hangouts and stuff. What do you like about her?"

"This character I play," Widowmaker gestured to the screen, "within the confines of the game, she is a person, like me - no, that is wrong, she is not like me, except in that she was... constructed. It is part of her story. Built, for a purpose. As I was, by Talon."

Built, thought Tracer. "Like Omnics, you mean?"

Widowmaker shook her head, no. "I have thought about it, but I think not. Neither of us are robotic, I do not think it is the same, and I cannot really ask our occasionally resident Shambali master to be sure..."

"Yeaaaaaaaaah," agreed the younger woman. "Probably never."

"I have been told that he says he does not carry a grudge, but I can tell that he carries a grudge, and I do not even blame him." She paused for a moment. "I am far more surprised that you talk to me than that he does not."

Lena bit her upper lip for a moment. "T'be honest, I am too."

Widowmaker hummed a little, a note that signalled her acknowledgment of the situation. "Why do you?"

Lena tilted her head back and forth a little. "...I dunno. That night in King's Row was the second worst of my life. I felt so angry and so betrayed, and I'd've done anything to undo it, but I couldn't. And you couldn't even tell me why."

"I did not know," she replied. "Or care. The question, it struck me as so unimportant, so silly. It was the first time I'd ever laughed. It may have been my first real, unprogrammed... thought."

"I didn't know that," said the Overwatch agent. Her first thought was... laughter? Wow. "But it hurt, then. Still does, a little. Less, now that I know you really aren't Amélie."

"My emotional range is still limited, but... I think I am sad about that."

"Maybe that's why, then. Maybe I can tell. Maybe that's why... somehow, here I am."

The eyes of the woman who had been made from Amélie Lacroix narrowed in thought at those words.

"Winston was built, too, genetically," said Tracer, changing back the subject and realising as she said it that it didn't fit. "But that's really not the same either, innit? He still grew up. You didn't. I think I get it, you just... came online, all at once, didn't you? 'Here I am, ready to kill.'"

The spider's gold eyes flashed to Tracer, but not in anger, as was so usually the case with that look. "Yes," she said, grabbing Tracer's hands. "Yes. I had a purpose, already. And then I had more purpose, that fit with it. No doubts, no hesitation, just purpose. Do you actually understand?"

Lena's heartbeat jumped as the spider grasped her hands, but she didn't let herself flinch, at least not more than with surprise. She touched me, she thought, intentionally. Woah! "I," she gathered her thoughts, "I think I do. I mean, not emotionally, right? I grew up too, and looked for somethin' to do with my life. But... in my head, I kinda get it. A little. You're not there, and then you are, all at once. And you already know why. That's, that's, that's, a kind of perfect, innit? It's..." she groped for the right words, "...flawless."

"Yes," she said, squeezing Lena's hands tightly. "For a reason, and with a purpose, and she," she gestured to her head to the screen, "is like that, and also biological, also for a reason, also for a purpose."

Lena put the rest of the pieces together. "...and nobody else in the whole world is."

The Widowmaker pulled Tracer against her, suddenly, roughly, and put her head on the Overwatch agent's shoulder. Lena could hear the spider breathing and found herself dazed, wrapping her arms around the assassin before she even knew what she was doing, asking only as she did it, softly, "...is this okay? Do you want a hug? 'Cause I can stop..."

"...no. I think I do."

She is so lonely, thought the former test pilot. And she don't even know it. Maybe that's why I don't mind this. She held the cool blue woman carefully in her arms. "Did you lose it, somehow? Your purpose?"

The spider did not say anything.

"Did you stop believing in it? Was that it?"

"It was... I could not stop... thinking. I was perfect, and whole, and content, and I brought exquisite deaths, and then I... and then I laughed, and I was not perfect, and not whole, and not content, and I could not fix it."

"And you miss that purity of purpose."

"So much."

"Would you go back to it?"

"I cannot."

Tracer nodded, and hugged a little tighter, as she said, "Because it's part of being a person. That's why you're here, innit?"

Widowmaker lifted her head from Lena's shoulder, looked her in the eyes, and whispered, "You do know."

Lena Oxton met the spider's gaze, and was not afraid. "This much, yeh. I do."

The spider laughed, just a little. Another thought, all her own. "May I hug you again, later?"

Tracer surprised herself by nodding agreement at once. What am I doing? She... she's who she is. She's built to kill. I can't ignore that. "'Course you can."

"Thank you," she said, and went ahead and did it right then, as well.

I can't ignore what she is, but maybe, Tracer thought, as Hana burst back into the room with grotesque amounts of junk food, ...maybe I can learn to live with it.

My Trip to Sacramento (Again)

Jul. 16th, 2017 09:03 pm
kevin_standlee: (Family)
[personal profile] kevin_standlee
I needed to go see my sister at the nursing facility in Sacramento as I continue to sort out things on her behalf. In addition, there are some things Lisa and I want for the Worldcon trip that can't be easily had in Reno. So this morning, we set off for Sacramento. Neither of us had had a good night's sleep, in part because of the heat. Until we got near Truckee, there was a whole lot of smoke in the air, mostly I think from the Long Valley Fire north of Reno. The Farad Fire that closed I-80 for quite a while last week is reported as 100% contained, and the areas near the freeway are burned out by now.

We went to the Roseville Galleria (nearest Lush store) for the after-shave ointment I use and some "toothy tab" substitutes for toothpaste I prefer to use on long trips because it's neater than tubes of toothpaste. Then it was on to Fry's for some bits of electronics that Lisa and I wanted. By then we were already wilting from the heat, which wasn't more than a degree or two hotter than Fernley, but significantly more humid. I suggested lunch, but neither of us was very hungry. So we went to the nursing facility, which at least was cooler.

Errand of Telephone Mercy )

After spending time with my sister, Lisa and I were hungry, despite the heat, so we set off east, stopping at In-N-Out in Rocklin (we've given up on the Auburn location because it seems to always be over-crowded), ate burgers, and turned for home. We stopped only at Donner Summit for a rest break and just before home to get some milk and yogurt for my breakfast tomorrow.

The Summit Snow is Finally Gone. Well, Mostly )

It was pretty comfortable at the summit, but we needed to get home, so we pressed on. The house was, as expected, very hot and stuffy, but the overnight low is supposed to get down to 18°C tonight and once the sun went down it started cooling nicely. We have the fans and coolers running full-tilt. Once it's cool enough to do so, I must get some sleep. It's another busy week at the Day Jobbe, and a number of both Westercon and WSFS tasks, plus personal preparations for the Helsinki trip, are looming.
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