November 9th, 2019

Anya final stand, S7

things I've read/watched

I've spent the past several weeks either writing fic for Trick or Treat or reading fic from Trick or Treat. I'm always surprised by how incompatible writing and reading are. There are only so many hours in the day!

Movie: The Old Dark House, 1932. A group of travelers take shelter in a spooky Welsh house during a storm. This was properly Gothic, with a weird family full of secrets, a disfigured mute butler (Boris Karloff), and more. This is not an era of film I'm that familiar with outside the big swashbucklers like The Mark of Zorro (which was a little later anyway), and honestly I don't think I have the familiarity to appreciate this one properly, but I did enjoy the little character dramas, like the flippant friend and WWI vet looking for his life's purpose. In terms of horror, the elderly woman terrorizing the young woman and rebuking her for caring about "fleshly love" was pretty distressing, but honestly, watching them drive a very old car down a washed-out hillside path at night in the pouring rain was the scariest part of the whole movie for me.

Book: Desdemona in the Deep by CSE Cooney. In a secondary world full of fabulous wealth, grotesque poverty, and labor disputes, the princess to a fortune goes on a quest to the goblin kingdom to save a group of miners her coal baron father has consigned to death. I picked this up because the Tor monthly Barnes & Noble Bookseller's pick list. I enjoyed it for the incredibly colorful worldbuilding and its concerns with social consciousness. The prose was vivid and full of great imagery; it reminded me a bit of Cat Valente in sensibility, but unlike with Valente, wasn't prone to wandering around in its own metaphor until it got lost.

Its weakness is that it feels like the beginning and end of a story that left out the middle. The story can't seem to decide who its main character is; it seems like it ought to be Desdemona, but the big climax of the story is all about other people while she looks on. And then her character arc appears to be about rejecting the world above and embracing the goblin underworld, except there was no point in the story where I saw that change of heart. It just suddenly had happened.

Even so, if it qualifies for the Hugos as a novella I will probably nominate it, just because novella pickings are so slim, and it did have a lot I liked about it.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)