kindkit: Images of Mycroft's tie, eyes, and cane. (Sherlock: Mycroft is proper)
I just finished watching it yesterday, and there were some things I really liked, some things I thought were just strange, and one thing that irritated me enormously. Guess what I'm going to talk about?

not spoilery for plot but somewhat for character development )
kindkit: The Second Doctor and Jamie clutch each other in panic; captioned "oh noes" (Doctor Who: Two/Jamie oh noes)
My allergy problem segued into a sinus infection problem, leading to several unpleasant days on which my entire face hurt, but I'm better now and feeling mostly human again.

Today I was reminded that while the Granada Sherlock Holmes series was mostly excellent, towards the end it went off the rails. I checked out "The Eligible Bachelor" from the library. I'd never seen it before, and ye gods was it terrible. About a third of the storyline was based on two ACD stories, the rest was a lot of overheated Victorian melodrama, terrible special effects, and scenery-chewing. Even Jeremy Brett went a bit over the top; only Edward Hardwicke kept his dignity and grace as Watson, but unfortunately he wasn't in the story much.

In another instance of bad media choices, I also checked out The Explorers: A Story of Fearless Outcasts, Blundering Geniuses, and Impossible Success from the library. I was in a hurry and didn't look closely at it; I just saw from the blurb that it was about the Burton and Speke expeditions to find the source of the Nile and thought it would be interesting. It turned out not to really even be about the expeditions, apart from a few scattered pages. Mostly it's about seven personality traits supposedly associated with explorers, and how they can help the reader succeed in their own life. So, scads of self-helpish generalities and dubious neuroscience. Also, it turns out the author is a frequent ghostwriter co-writer for right-wing television pundit Bill O'Reilly, whom he enthuses about in the author's notes.

I only skimmed but still managed to be irritated, especially by author Martin Dugard mentioning Richard Hillary as an example of the brave, persevering explorer type. Hillary, Dugard writes, was a pilot "shot down and killed during World War II." Now, this is technically true, but not the way it sounds. First Hillary was shot down and seriously burned. After surgeries, rehabilitation and a lot of badgering of doctors and commanding officers, he managed to get himself cleared for flight retraining even though his hands were stiff from scar tissue. During training he crashed his plane, killing himself and his radio operator. Hillary, when his story is told honestly and not fudged, doesn't strike me as an admirable example of ceaselessly striving for your dreams, but rather an example of the value of knowing when to quit.

I've made at least one not-mistaken media choice by starting to read Chaz Brenchley's Outremer series, which is set in a fantasy version of the crusader settlements in the middle east, aka Outremer. It's a bit grimdark, and given how important religion is supposed to be, the religious issues aren't clearly defined, but it's a good story so far and I like that there are queer characters who are central and have plots roles well beyond their queerness. I should note that the books aren't really standalones; they need to be read in order and so far they tend to end abruptly.

So how are you all? I miss you!
kindkit: Images of Mycroft's tie, eyes, and cane. (Sherlock: Mycroft is proper)
It's interesting that 1x07 of POI uses Nina Simone's "Sinnerman" months before it was used in a similar context in Sherlock. Wikipedia tells me it's been used in every other TV series ever as well, but I either hadn't heard it or hadn't noticed it before Sherlock. So I had thought it was a brilliant, creative choice from Moffat and co. Not so much, it would seem.

Incidentally, the Mycroft Holmes icon I'm using on this post has been drafted to stand in for Finch as well. They are not unalike. *has visions of crossover voyeuristic-genius-shipping*
kindkit: Holmes and Watson walking arm in arm, text: I'm for you (Sherlock Holmes: I'm for you)
The fourth round of the ACD Holmes Fanwork Exchange is open for signups. I appear to have signed up. How did that happen?
kindkit: Images of Mycroft's tie, eyes, and cane. (Sherlock: Mycroft is proper)
1) Day off today (I've reverted to my usual work schedule, which means my "weekend" is Thursday and Friday). I cooked (oden, which is a long-simmered Japanese winter stew of fish products--not generally fresh fish but things like kamaboko--vegetables, fried tofu, etc., and I also roasted a butternut squash, and got ambitious and roasted the squash seeds for a snack) and ignored Halloween. I don't like kids well enough to give them candy, especially not the noisy uncontrolled children who scream and shout for hours every day and evening around this apartment complex.

2) Last week I hurt my hand from too much heavy lifting at work. I have a swelling along the tendon (I think?) at the base of my thumb. The swollen part is sore and my thumb hurts if I have to hold anything heavy. I'm trying to rest my thumb as much as possible, which isn't easy, although I did buy a brace to wear at work. (Doctor = not an option, as I have no health insurance, so please don't advise me to see one. I know I should. And I know that I don't have the money.)

3) I keep not managing to do the Wednesday reading post, but I'm reading lots! I started Maria Edgeworth's Belinda and really enjoyed the beginning but then hit my limit, for the moment, on regency novels. I read most of the rest of Charles Stross's Laundry novels despite not liking The Jennifer Morgue, and found that I like the later, more serious and less jokey ones much better. In non-fiction, I'm reading Carolly Erickson's Our Tempestuous Day: A History of Regency England, which is fun but so jaunty and gossipy that I'm not sure I can trust anything it says; it's also gratuitously fat-phobic. And I just started Andrew Roberts' The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War. So far it looks to be the readable, just-detailed-enough general history I've been looking for. Among its virtues is that it analyzes events and puts them into context; for example, it begins not with the annexation of the Czech Sudetenland or the invasion of Poland, but with the secret 1934 pact between Hitler and the German military, through which the Wehrmacht thought it would gain control of Hitler but ended up controlled by him instead.

4) For November, my goal is to do a not!NaNoWriMo and write 500 words a day, either on the Regency romance or other projects.

5) I saw people posting about Thor 2 and got all excited, but apparently it hasn't opened in the US yet. Or at least not near me.

6) Speaking of movies, I wish my favorite actors would pick roles where they're not playing despicable characters. Not even for Benedict Cumberbatch will I watch The Fifth Estate (does anyone know if it glosses as completely over the rape charges against Julian Assange as the trailer made it appear to?). I'm thinking of seeing 12 Years a Slave, but the impression I got from a review is that it's got a rape scene in it, and I avoid movies with rape scenes. Nor do I want to watch Michael Fassbender play a rapist.

7) New Sherlock in January. I am glad. I know the show has problems, both artistically and with racism and sexism, but I still like it more than anything else currently on television. And, honestly, I do feel like Sherlock has been more singled out for its failures than it deserves--apart from "The Blind Banker," I don't think it's more faily than plenty of other shows that have slipped under the radar.
kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Airship)
Here are my answers for the "tell me a character, I'll tell you one of their hangups" meme.

[livejournal.com profile] graculus and [personal profile] vilakins asked for Mervyn Bunter (Lord Peter Wimsey) )

[livejournal.com profile] magnetic_pole asked for Sherlock Holmes )

[personal profile] lilacsigil asked for John Watson )

[personal profile] st_aurafina asked for Lord John Grey (Outlander books etc.) )
kindkit: Images of Mycroft's tie, eyes, and cane. (Sherlock: Mycroft is proper)
Dear authors of fic for Sherlock, the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies, and the Granada series,

Please, please stop tagging your fic at AO3 with "Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle" if it's not really bookverse. If there were no false crosstagging, bookverse might just have qualified for Yuletide this year.

Extremely sincerely,

Disgruntled of Tumbridge Wells Recently-Renewed Bookverse Love


ETA: Actually, on looking again at the numbers for eligibility, it wasn't even close. Still, I wonder how many of the 1600 supposedly bookverse fics on AO3 are actually bookverse.

And, honestly, I think there are a few fandoms that ought to become permanent members of Yuletide, as it were, because they have a long history of being largely Yuletide fandoms. Holmes bookverse is one of them; I note that Discworld, which has almost 900 fics on AO3, seems to have been quietly let continue as Yuletide fandom--I've heard nothing about it being ineligible--on this principle. Also, as AO3 gets more popular, it's worth asking if the 250 fic limit there is too low. I dunno. I wish there could be some kind of algorithm that consistently takes into account things like how long a fandom has been around. 1600 Holmes fics looks less huge when you consider that the fandom is over 125 years old; conversely, Welcome to Night Vale is just over a year old and has almost 1000 fics, so even though that's less in absolute numbers than Holmes, I certainly don't think it should be in Yuletide. It would get very complicated, I suppose, and piss even more people off than the current system does. And I realize the mods are allowed to run Yuletide however they like; hence my posting this here on my own journal, purely as a thought, rather than contacting the mods about it.
kindkit: Man sitting on top of a huge tower of books, reading. (Fandomless--book tower)
It's Wednesday again. How does that happen?

Currently Reading:

I've been re-reading some Sherlock Holmes stories. The good thing about re-reading is that you can skip over the case details and just focus on Holmes and Watson. I've been thinking about how Holmes behaves in The Sign of Four; of course the last line, where Holmes basically says, "So, you're getting married, huh? Well in that case I'll just shoot up ALL THE COCAINE, so there!" has stuck in my head in all its passive-aggressive glory. What hadn't entirely registered before is how hard Holmes tries to show that he can be the perfect companion (so what does Watson need with a wife???). He notices when Watson is tired and makes him lie down and plays soft music to help him sleep. He arranges nice meals and makes damn sure Watson notices: "I have oysters and a brace of grouse, with something a little choice in white wines.--Watson, you have never yet recognized my merits as a housekeeper." (Athelney Jones joins them for this meal, but Holmes didn't know he was going to be there--the effort certainly wasn't for his benefit.) He talks charmingly "on miracle plays, on mediaeval pottery, on Stradivarius violins, on the Buddhism of Ceylon" and seems quite another man from the Holmes of A Study in Scarlet who insists that it's a waste of his brain space to know about anything unconnected to crime. (Just as SoF Watson, with his wounded leg, occasionally seems quite another Watson from the one in Scarlet with the bullet in his shoulder! Oh, Conan Doyle, you needed a story bible like no other writer.) Holmes also calls Watson "my dear boy" and worries that a long hike across London will be too much for Watson's leg.

I just want to hug him, poor man, to make up for Watson's obliviousness.

Not that Watson's marriage seems to come between them all that much, in the end. Watson starts out "A Scandal in Bohemia" claiming that he hardly sees Holmes anymore what with being so happily married, oh no, nothing interests Watson anymore but domesticity. Which would be why he's popping in to visit Holmes all the time, ignoring his medical practice if Holmes wants his help or just his company, accompanying Holmes to restaurants and concerts, and sleeping at Baker Street when he has a perfectly good home of his own. All typical of a happily married, domestically minded man.

(Incidentally, and going back to SoF, I wonder if anyone's ever written a fic where Mary Morstan refuses Watson's proposal because she and Mrs. Forrester are lovers. Doyle's description of Mrs. F. waiting up for Mary and holding her and comforting her makes that interpretation perfectly possible. And if Mary had the courage to be frank with Watson, which I think she might, it would do Watson some good to think about the possibilities for love outside of a conventional marriage.)


Recently Read:

I gave up on Charles Glass's The Deserters: A Hidden History of World War II because it was much too focused on three individual stories and not very informative in a general sense.

I did finish Stephen Jay Gould's Full House, but my first impression of it as a rehash of themes Gould explored pretty thoroughly elsewhere turned out to be true. Also, I got the sense that Gould really just wanted to write a book about baseball, and I don't give a damn about baseball.


What I'm reading next:

Interlibrary loan finally sent me Demobbed: Coming Home After the Second World War by Alan Allport. It looks interesting and actually remembers to talk about POWs, yay!

And I should read Ben Aaronovitch's Broken Homes, but I'm kind of afraid to. Even though we're just in the middle of the big plot arc, I feel about the new book almost like I do/did about the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics and about new Discworld novels: no, I don't want more canon, thank you. More canon could ruin things for me. It's not a matter of declining quality, as it is with Discworld and was with Buffy, just that the story universe and certain characters in particular (*coughThomasNightingalecough*) have a definite shape in my mind and I don't want it changed, no. (This is one reason, I think, why my fannishness gravitates towards closed canons. In a closed canon, you can read or watch the whole thing and then develop theories and headcanon, instead of having big lags where you wait for new canon and start having Ideas which are then jossed. How do you people who prefer open canons stand the tension?)
kindkit: Holmes and Watson walking arm in arm, text: I'm for you (Sherlock Holmes: I'm for you)
I've been reading some professionally published Holmes pastiche short fiction, and it seems to me that Watson is rather frequently made a scapegoat for Victorian values. Has anyone else noticed this?

Watson is more conventional than Holmes in some ways (not in all--it's Holmes, not Watson, who's been known to scoff at the idea of intelligent women), but he's not a prig. Certainly I find it very unlikely that he would fulminate against birth control and insist that if the poor can't afford more children they must learn to practice abstinence, which is what he does in the story I'm currently reading.
kindkit: Captain Kirk writing on a PADD, text: "And then they had sex. The end." (Star Trek TOS: Kirk writes fic)
Here are my answers to the prompts I was given for this meme. I'd be happy to take more prompts if anyone is interested.

[livejournal.com profile] miss_morland asked about Captain Haddock )

[livejournal.com profile] mcicioni asked about Peter from The Wooden Horse )

[livejournal.com profile] executrix asked about Pilot Officer Larry Page )

[personal profile] slashgoddess80 asked about Tintin )

[personal profile] elaineofshalott asked about Conan Doyle's G. Lestrade )
kindkit: Sherlock Holmes, with overlaid computer screen text: no access (Sherlock: no access)
1) It's mildly depressing to stumble across an extensive recs list for a small fandom (seriously, the recs list includes about 1/3 of all the fic available for this fandom on the AO3) and discover that your own fic is not included on it.

2) Less self-pityingly, let me tell you some of the things I've researched lately: the licensing system for commercial pilots in the UK; the location of Wokingham and the names of its secondary schools; whether there's actually a town in England named Fitton (as far as I can google, there's not); where Fitton would be if it existed, given that it's 200 miles from Ottery St. Mary and part of the drive involves taking the A46 (somewhere around Nottingham, I've concluded); Armenian names; and the least prestigious role it's possible to have as a commercial pilot on a multi-crew aircraft.

On the whole, research is a lot more fun than writing. Especially when "research" mostly involves Google and Wikipedia. As always, I am in awe that anyone ever managed to write anything before the internet existed.

3) I've also listened to the commentary for Sherlock 1x03, "The Great Game," done by Mark Gatiss, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Martin Freeman. From this, I have learned that Mark Gatiss is funny and rather adorable, Benedict Cumberbatch can use phrases like "chromatic scales" in conversation, and Martin Freeman thinks John Watson's clothes are stylish. Only the latter was a surprise--I honestly thought the show was deliberately dressing John badly as a contrast to Sherlock. Oh, and Gatiss and Cumberbatch are apparently feuding over who gets to marry Andrew Scott (who plays Moriarty). I don't blame them one bit.

Hmm, I need a Mycroft icon. Mark Gatiss = my other new crush. How could I not love a man who, when talking about how he met his husband online, mentions that what first attracted him was his husband's good grammar?
kindkit: Cartoon otter with text from Cabin Pressure: "Gentlemen, we have hitter out otter target." (Cabin Pressure: otter target)
1) I saw War Horse the other day, mostly to please a friend but also because Benedict Cumberbatch is in it. Unfortunately, Cumberbatch was only in it for about ten minutes and had a horrible mustache. And the film itself was pretty awful, as even my heartwarming-animal-stories loving friend agreed. But it was awful in the way that means it will probably win several Oscars.

2) Out of all the things I could be writing, why am I writing a Sherlock/Cabin Pressure crossover that pairs Martin and Mycroft? I think that when presented with multiple fic-writing options, my subconscious goes for the one that will be the creepiest and/or attract the fewest readers.

3) Why do non-British (generally American) fen go to the effort of writing really good Sherlock fic, often quite lengthy and with great care taken over the prose and plot, and then don't get it Britpicked? I cringe at every "gotten," every wrong "pants," and if it bothers me, it must bother British readers much more. I end up hesitant to rec these stories, however good they are in other respects, and even to comment on them because I'm annoyed that the author couldn't bother to do one simple thing.
kindkit: Cartoon otter with text from Cabin Pressure: "Gentlemen, we have hitter out otter target." (Cabin Pressure: otter target)
I raced through the BBC radio show Cabin Pressure and am now 2/3 finished with my second listen. (This, I have discovered, is what mp3 players are for: listening to radio drama in bed at night.) It's always funny and sometimes bittersweet in just the right way; I think the best comedy always has a measure of sorrow in it.

If, like me until a few days ago, you are tragically unacquainted with the show, do give it a try. Its BBC website is here and the first two series are available to download via this link at what I think is a very reasonable rate. And did I mention the fannish associations? Benedict Cumberbatch is one of the stars, and in series 3 Anthony Head has a recurring guest role. You can listen to a free S1 episode on the BBC site, by the way.

/promotion

So, as is my wont, I looked for fanfic.

Oh, dear.

There is a weird dearth of humorous fic, considering the show's a comedy. Instead, there are a billion schmoopy woobified romance fics, the majority being m/m slash, but with crossover het and Mary Sues original female characters making a strong running. Worse yet, there's an inexplicable fanon trope that spoilers )
kindkit: Sherlock Holmes, with overlaid computer screen text: no access (Sherlock: no access)
I feel compelled to show you all my new desktop wallpaper: image under the cut )
kindkit: Sherlock Holmes, with overlaid computer screen text: no access (Sherlock: no access)
I've been reading a lot of Sherlock fic and I have some recs. (Interestingly, I've had more success finding fic I like by just randomly going through and trying things that sound interesting than by selecting the stories that have received the most kudos and bookmarks. Go figure.)

Eight recs below the cut, five post-Reichenbach and three that predate S2.

click here to read )
kindkit: Sherlock Holmes, with overlaid computer screen text: no access (Sherlock: no access)
I've been tentatively exploring in this fandom; here are a couple of stories I've especially loved.

Lift Up Mine Eyes To The Hills (15939 words) by faviconAJHall
Fandom: Sherlock (TV), Withnail & I (1986)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warning: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: John/Sherlock; Withnail/Peter Marwood(I) (unrequited); Withnail/OFC (ill-advised)
Characters: John Watson; Sherlock Holmes; Withnail; Uncle Monty; Peter Marwood (I)
Summary: In the aftermath of an intensely stressful case, John takes a depressed and exhausted Sherlock to the Lakes to recuperate. However, ghosts from Sherlock's family history intrude upon his recovery, confronting him with a mystery which has an unequivocally personal dimension.

Yes, this is a Withnail and I crossover. Trust me, it works. There's a lot of melancholy in this story, but tenderness and hope, too. Married a bit, in my view, by the author's evident dislike of Mycroft.


The Physics of Present Tense (37850 words) by faviconpaxlux
Fandom: Sherlock (TV)
Rating: Mature
Warning: Underage
Relationships: Sherlock/Mycroft, the Holmes brothers
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, Mycroft Holmes, Lestrade (Inspector), John Watson
Summary: It happens instantaneously, but it takes years. It’s like looking up at the stars and spinning around with your arms out and letting gravity take you.

This story blew me away. It's not a pairing I was looking for or inclined to fancy, but Paxlux does an amazing, amazing job of getting into both brothers' heads and showing what draws them together as well as the tensions between them that we see onscreen. (This story fits seamlessly into Sherlock canon; it's not an AU.) I was a bit worried there would be Watson-bashing, but Watson is written with respect and affection. (If anything, I think he fits so effortlessly into Sherlock's and Mycroft's lives that it strains plausibility a bit, but it's a deserved happy ending after what the characters go through, and the emotional groundwork is laid even though I think the ending could have used another few thousand words of development. Anyway, the story overall is so strong that this is a relatively minor point. Read it if you possibly can.)

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