[sticky entry] Sticky: My vids

26 Sep 2012 06:14 pm
frayadjacent: Willow and Xander with their hair standing on end, literally (BtVS: everything wonky)
All my vids: Angel, BtVS, Elementary, Friday Night Lights, Orphan Black, The Black Stallion, Whale Rider, and Xena )

Blanket Permission

Feel free to to post my vids, post critiques, analysis, etc, and use them in transformative works.  I would be honored if anyone engaged with my fanworks in these ways. But please refer people to the individual vid post or this post if you do so.

You're also welcome to link to any of my public posts. However, if you know my real name, please do not associate that name with this journal or pseudonym.

Accessibility

In all my vids I warn for graphic violence, sexual and domestic violence, and major character death. I also warn for stuttery cuts and bright flashes (which are more likely to appear in my vids than the above). I welcome any questions about content of my vids as well as recommendations for warnings I haven't used; feel free to PM me here or gmail me at frayadjacent12.

I'm slowly adding subtitles to all my vids; if there's a vid you want subtitled right away, please let me know and I'll get to it first thing.

frayadjacent: Orphan Black: Helena hugging Sarah, who is handcuffed. (Orphan Black: Sarah and Helena)
More Orphan Black posts have crossed my dash in the last 24 hours than all of Season 3 previously. And I'm writing one too!

S3-E06: Certain Agony in the Battlefield )

A few minor things I didn't love )
frayadjacent: Lady watcher grinning, text says "fangirl" (!fangirl)
I saw Mad Max, and I'm closer than I've ever been to being really, actively fannish in a big fandom at its height. Is MM:FR a big fandom? Or becoming a big fandom? Please tell me it is. I want to experience this big fandom thing.

I might go see it again, even. I never do that.

(Obviously my main fandoms, Buffy and Xena, are huge, but I came to them a decade+ late. It's not the same at all.)

More thoughts on the show later; I'm at my laptop at the kitchen table which is a big no no RSI-wise. Better sign off.

Oops

19 May 2015 05:41 pm
frayadjacent: Willow looking like she could fuck you up (BtVS: Willow defiant)
I tried to argue to my coworkers at lunch today that one need not invoke a genetic cause of "homosexuality" (their word) in order for it to be morally OK. It's also morally fine if it is a choice! I'm pretty sure they think I'm a homophobe now.

(I suppose this would have been as good a time as any to come out at work, but given that I'm still somewhat dazed at having participated in a multi-minute conversation with my coworkers at all, it's not surprising I didn't.)
frayadjacent: Joyce comforting Buffy at the end of "Innocence" (BtVS: Buffy and Joyce)
Because I have some free time this morning while a bunch of processes run at work, and because when I feel like posting I should just do it.

I read Mark Field's Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Myth, Metaphor, and Morality until about halfway through season 4. I paid $1 for the e-reader version because it's hard for me to read long stuff online. I'm too distractable. Some parts of it were super interesting. I especially liked when he talked about the existentialist moral themes in BtVS. I haven't had the patience to actually read existentialist philosophy since high school, and on the whole I find it compelling in some senses and frustratingly individualistic in others.  Fields' characterization of existentialism and how it plays out in BtVS (and, implicitly, Angel) clarified a lot of that for me, in the sense that I realized that aspects of the shows' treatment of morality are apparently more coherent in their origins than I thought, even if I disagree with a lot of those origins.

I stopped reading it partly because everytime Field talks about Buffy having sex, it is judgmental and sexist and at times pretty gross. I can't say that he's drawing out themes that don't exist in the show -- they totally do -- but he not only fails to criticize those themes, he embraces them more wholeheartedly than the show itself does. Especially in Season 2, which he has a whole Freudian take on that, like I said, is not un-supported by the show but also kinda makes me blech. Also, I started to get tired of it and realized I really wanted to be reading some fiction. Which leads me to....

I finally started Ancillary Justice. Which I'm now about one quarter of the way through, and, I don't know. I love epic stories, but I'm tired of how often they are from the point of view of military officers and politicians and aristocrats and royalty. I don't need empire from the POV of the imperialists, even if the narrative doesn't condone the imperialism (which this doesn't). There are elements that I like, enough that I'm going to keep reading, and I keep hoping that a twist will come.
frayadjacent: Xena and Gab sexily staring into each other's eyes (Xena: Xena/Gab sexy)
Ever since last year when I read Gail Simone's Wonder Woman run, where Diana tries (and fails) to court a man, I've been craving more stories where a woman really actively pursues a romance (with any gender person). I think this is the root of why I so often fail at shipping: writers are so rarely interested in showing me that a lady character is even interested in the other person, much less actively courting them.

What I'd really love to see is Lady Character pursing the object of her affection awkwardly -- with inappropriate grand gestures, for example. (But not Awkwardly Not Pursuing said object a la early season Willow and Xander, I've got plenty of examples of that.) And I'd love examples where she succeeds and examples where she doesn't.

Where do I find this? I had secretly hoped The Mindy Project would do it, but alas it didn't, not really. I get it occasionally from books (spoilers for The Outskirters Secret )).

huh

25 Apr 2015 03:27 pm
frayadjacent: Black and white image of Buffy and Willow talking circa S4 (BtVS: Buffy and Willow Friendship)
That End of Year Vidding Meme has the category "Most Unintentionally Telling Video". I usually skip that one because I don't even know what that means. Until now, anyway.

I realized that my WIP unintentionally shows that the most important relationships for Buffy -- to me -- are her relationships with Dawn and with Willow. (Giles is also super important to me! But he didn't make it into the vid as much.) I've spent a lot of time thinking about and discussing her relationships with Angel, Riley, and Spike, and there's a lot of important stuff about her character in there. But at the end of the day, it's all about Buffy & Dawn, Buffy & Willow, and Buffy & Giles.
frayadjacent: Buffy with a goofy look on her face, text says "dork" (BtVS: Buffy dork)
I caught up completely on Steven Universe last night, and you guys THIS SHOW HAS STOLEN MY HEART. It's so good. I have that "I want to rewatch it all the time" feeling that I haven't had about a new show in a good long while. <3

A few favorite moments:

Spoilers for the first season! )

And[personal profile] beccatoria made a glorious SU vid: Blue/Pink (note it has major spoilers for the whole first season!)

meh

22 Apr 2015 02:13 pm
frayadjacent: Willow frowning, text says "meh" (!meh)
I don't know if it's my mood, or if I've re-watched it too many times, but my WIP is suddenly completely failing to bring out feels in me. And I mean it to be a feels vid!  I think I need to finish filling out that timeline and then give it a couple days off. But not too many days! Deadlines and whatnot.
frayadjacent: Buffy and Willow, who's the only part of the image in color and is wearing a silly outfit. Text says "adorkable". (!Adorkable)
I was pretty disinterested when The Mindy Project came out because I'm not usually drawn to stories that focus on romance (no disrespect to those who are, it's just not my cup of tea), and the whole "professional woman succeeds in work but fails in love" added an extra layer of unappealing. However, I read an interesting interview with Kaling in a waiting room magazine a couple years ago, and I adored Kaling's character in The Office. In December we finally got around to giving it a try.

At first I had mixed feelings. I loved Mindy Lahiri almost immediately. Her boisterous charisma, her love for her job, her romanticism, and most of all her confidence and unwillingness to apologize for herself, are all my fannish catnip. Also, Mindy Kaling has incredible comic timing and writes and performs her character so well. But everyone else was completely unfunny and uninteresting, the Dianne/Sam thing with Danny left me cold (that trope usually does) hot with rage at what an asshat he was.

But the show evolved, something with the writing or acting gelled and it started to work better for me, maybe mid or late S1. Though Mindy is still the center of it for me, I enjoy the show as a whole more than I did at first. I'm not thrilled about recent plotlines and I maintain that spoiler for season 3 ). But really, as long as she keeps being a badass gynecologist and eating doughnuts and making me laugh out loud more than most things on television, I'll be fine with whatever this show does.

In February we watched Empire and fell under the spell of Cookie Lyon. There was a lot to like, but Cookie and Porsha's dynamic was my favorite. The finale was so upsetting though! I just want everyone to unite against Lucious and support each other. (Actually I'm not sure I want Andre in on that.)

One thing I liked about it was that despite having an ostensible anti-hero main character, the show avoided the things I hate most about that trope by giving it a strong ensemble with all the characters having agency. I never feel manipulated into rooting for someone I detest because the show actively encouraged me to root for Cookie, or Jamal or Hakeem, often against Lucious.

Also, I have never seen a show that appeared to be written not just about, but also FOR, Black people, to the extent that Empire is. Like I feel like this show really doesn't care much about its white audience and is very interested in Black points of view. To the point that the show even employs a Black stereotype of a scheming, manipulative white woman. It's refreshing to see (not so much the stereotype I suppose, but the rest of it).

After mourning the season finale of Empire and the series finale of Parks and Recreation, we watched all of Broad City. I predictably fell in love with Abbi and her goofy face and their friendship. It has an unrequited lady-love thing that for some reason doesn't bother me. The show is fun and adorable and I liked it a lot. The season 1 finale -- directed by Amy Poehler! -- was my favorite episode.

I recently started watching Bunheads with a friend -- I haven't had a tv date with a friend since I left Seattle, so I'm really happy to be doing that. I spent the whole pilot going "WTF is happening I hate this trope why does [personal profile] chaila like this show well I guess I better trust [personal profile] chaila not to lead me astray oh the lead is having sex she likes and now she's dancing with Emily Gilmore things are looking up WAIT DID I HEAR THAT PLOT TWIST RIGHT IS THIS SHOW MADE SPECIFICALLY FOR MEEEEE?????". I spent the next two episodes basking in the glory of those last few minutes of the pilot and delighting in the general absence of men *anywhere*. And adoring Bunheads!Emily Gilmore. And the teenage girls who are all very cute. I'm looking forward to more.

Finally, we've recently started Steven Universe and it's super adorable and fun. I would like it to spend more time with all the Crystal Gems, I don't enjoy the scenes with Steven without the Gems as much as I do the whole group. I'm like 6 or 7 episodes in so no spoilers!

I'm still watching and mostly enjoying Elementary, but I don't have anything to say about it. At all, ever, lately, now that I think about it. :/ I do enjoy reading fannish interpretations on Tumblr, and I always love Elementary fic.

I stopped watching Sleepy Hollow after the episode early/mid S2 spoiler ). I didn't hate quit (though if anything were to get me to, that'd be high on the list), I just lost motivation, especially when I kept hearing general fannish unhappiness at it after that. I heard the finale was good. I still intend to watch it, it's just a matter of carving out the time and motivation.

Mr Adjacent and I started a Buffy rewatch about a year and a half ago, and we stalled out on season 6. Which used to be one of my favorite seasons, but lately I don't have it in me to watch characters I love suffer like that. Anyway, we finally pushed through (I watched the last 4 episodes without him) and are enjoying S7 quite a bit. I'll never be a S7 detractor -- though I do tire of Buffy's speeches.

I can't wait for Orphan Black to start up again!

frayadjacent: Delphine's face looking shocked, black background (Orphan Black: Delphine)
Title: Milkshake & Honey
Fandom: Orphan Black
Song: Milkshake 'n' Honey by Sleater-Kinney
Pairings: Cosima/Delphine, Sarah/Cal, Sarah/Paul, Alison/Donnie, Felix/Colin, Rachel/Paul, Siobhan/Carlton, Helena/Helena's boyfriend, Felix/Tony.
Summary: took my heart, my best jeans, and left me with paying the rent.
Much thanks to [personal profile] kuwdora for beta and cheerleading!
Premiered at Escapade 2015, but by happy coincidence was finished on Valentines Day 2015.

Content Notes: Uses scenes through S2, but spoilers are more of the character/relationship variety than the plot variety. Portrays scenes that are dub-con in the source as sexy and playful; includes sexualized depictions of needles and medical procedures; and shows female-on-male intimate partner violence as sexy and/or funny. Feel free to ask specific questions about content.

Download: 117 Mb 720p mp4 + subtitles

Subtitles are included in the download .zip files. You can delete the .srt file if you don't want subtitles. They are also available in the youtube streaming versions.

Streaming: Critical Commons | Youtube (with subtitles)




frayadjacent: Rachel Duncan dressed as Sarah Manning, blue and pink background (Orphan Black: Rachel)
from Slate: Why are so many Americans in prison? -- this law professor argues it isn't the drug war, but aggressive DAs.
If you released every person in prison on a drug charge today, our state prison population would drop from about 1.5 million to 1.2 million. So we’d still be the world’s largest incarcerating country; we’d still have an enormous prison population.
frayadjacent: Delphine's face looking shocked, black background (Orphan Black: Delphine)
1. I'm very slowly making my way through Festivids, alphabetically, only skipping vids with "chooses not to warn" (though even then if I'm familiar with the source or I see lots of "that was fun/delightful/sweet" type comments, I'll go for it). I'm really enjoying the vids! A lot of people have posted recs and I'm not going to do that, but if you like vids and you haven't checked out Festivids yet, here they are. Also I've been pleased to find that after watching a vid I can leave not just a semi-coherent comment but I can usually say something specific that I liked about the vid, which I chalk up to having more experience watching and talking about and especially beta-ing vids. It feels nice to have the vocabulary and mental framework to be able to do that without difficulty.

2. [personal profile] kuwdora is going to mentor me/work with me for the rest of the year on vidding! I am very excited about this arrangement. To that end, today I wrote out a timeline of vid projects for 2015, keeping in mind con deadlines and whatnot. It's ambitious but doable if I stay on top of vidding, and if I make the seven vids on the list then I'll have said the most important things I currently want to say about my two most beloved fandoms, BtVS and Xena. If I manage to actually do it, I wonder how that might change vidding for me. I've had a few things hanging over my head and the idea of having them finished this year sounds really really good.

3. I am finally really running again! So much so that I bought a new running shirt, because I was going through them too quickly. My mileage is still painfully low. I look back on the days when I regularly ran 4-6 miles without stopping and I can't imagine it; I'm going more like 2-3 miles and having to stop and walk several times. BUT I'm doing it.

4. I've been really struggling to focus lately. On everything: work, vidding, chores, Festivid-watching, even relaxing. And it's felt related to a general crankiness and uptick in my (mild) anxiety. Last weekend was one of those that just happened, and at the end I didn't even know what I'd done. I hate that feeling and the listlessness keeps building with it, but today I came to a realization: not every day has to have a perfect story arc, a Thing I Did. I don't have to clean the whole house or have an epic day of vid-farr or hang out with people all day. I can poke at a vid and chat with people on Twitter and watch one episode of one show and do a chore or two and go running and just kind of hang out, and *that's fine*. And I immediately felt much better. And I know this will pass; like most people, I imagine, I have phases where my focus is better and phases where it isn't.

5. Shows I'm enjoying right now: Elementary, The Mindy Project, Selfie, and a Key Episode Farscape rewatch. And tonight I'm going to check out Fresh of the Boat.


frayadjacent: Adaped from the hyperbole & a half comic, stick figure girl is very excitedly shouting "vid all the things!!!" (Vid all the things!!!)
Current (Escapade) vid is the total and complete opposite of What's Mine is Yours. I have little trouble finding the clips I want, and matching them to the music is damn near effortless.

I did have a moment of "OMG this vid is terrible, I need to stop now", but it was because I was trying to force it into a structure that neither the song nor the footage supported. Lately when I get new vid ideas, my brain!vid is a lot less focused on imagining a few specific clips to a few specific moments in the song, and a lot more focused on how I'll structure the vid. "This verse will be about X, the chorus will be about Y", etc. It makes listening to my vidsongs on repeat a lot less fun than it used to be, but it's a helpful stage in the vidding (and idea elimination) process.

But with Current Vid, I was much more entranced with how the song made me feel a lot like how (certain aspects of) the source made me feel. And I wanted the vid to capture that. But then when I started vidding my brain went immediately to "structure! Which section is for which thing?!" and that was kinda ruining the vid. Last night I had an epiphany that this was the vid I'm always saying I want to make, a vid that's less about an argument and more about a feeling, that's less about coherently distilling something that struck me about canon (characters and/or relationships) and more about why I find this source so sexy.
frayadjacent: Adaped from the hyperbole & a half comic, stick figure girl is very excitedly shouting "vid all the things!!!" (Vid all the things!!!)
A working from home day turned into "I have inspiration -- vid now and work later!" And it's a good thing too -- I'm taking stock of potential con submission deadlines. Here's what I have so far:

 - Escapade: 15 February

 - Club Vivid: late April or early May

 - Wiscon and VidUKon: early May

 - VVC challenge: late May

 - VVC premieres: mid/late June

It's highly unlikely I'll make all these, but some of my vid plans should line up. I've never submitted to Escapade before but my latest project seems good for it, so the deadline is great for motivation.

The list is very piled up in the first half of the year. Are there later events that I'm forgetting?
frayadjacent: Buffy walking into the library for the first time (!reading)
An epic headache derailed my plans to stay caught up on posting, but I'll get there soon!

I kinda want to reread a beloved series right now. I'm thinking either Harry Potter (have read all the books twice except book 1, the last reread was ~5 years ago) , The Hunger Games (I read all 3 books once about three years ago), or the Steerswoman series, which I only read for the first time within the last year but I already miss them!
frayadjacent: Portrait of Buffy, text says "Buffy is my homegirl" (BtVS: Buffy is my homegirl)
[livejournal.com profile] kikimay asked for my Top 5 Buffyverse women!

Buffy Summers: For the ways she both resists and embraces her calling. For her kindness. For her determination. Because I love her sweet, silly early season self and her relatively hard, battle-worn late season self. Because she loves cheesy puns and figure skating and has a stuffed pig named Mr Gordo. Because the mission matters to her. Because she gets a visceral joy from slaying, and she knows that if she wasn't the Slayer, she'd lose an essential part of herself. Because she loves as deeply and brightly as the First Slayer tells her she does, and she expresses that love most fully not to a boyfriend, but to her sister.

Because her lot fucking sucks, and when she realises she can change it, can share her power and responsibility, she does.

Willow Rosenberg: I don't admire Willow the way I do Buffy, but I feel a lot of affection and sympathy for her and am in awe of the quality of her character arc over the show's seven seasons. Willow is intelligent, hard-working, ambitious and arrogant. She's insecure and in need of approval, and unlike Buffy and Tara, she doesn't have a super strong internal moral compass. She wants to fight the good fight alongside her friends, but she also wants to be important. She doesn't want to be wrong about anything ever, because if she isn't perfect then who will ever love her? If her friends don't need her, why would they want her around? She's at once complex and multifaceted yet very consistent. Sometimes she makes me angry, sometimes she makes me sick, but she is so very human and beautifully written and performed.

Cordelia Chase: it's possible I have a soft spot for pretty girls with hidden depths. She makes me laugh, she plays off other characters in a group incredibly well, and I love her transformation from selfish oblivious rich girl to a member of the team in Angel.

Tara MacLay: she brings a strength and emotional maturity to the Scoobies that no one else on either show possesses, with the interesting possible exception of Oz. The support she gives Buffy from "The Body" to "Older and Far Away" is wonderful and I love her so much for it. You deserved better, Tara.

Anya Jenkins: this last one was tough because I also love Dawn. Which matters more, my involuntary empathy for Dawn and admiration for how she grows in later seasons, or how much Anya makes me laugh? The episode "Selfless" was the eventual tiebreaker. Hands down my favorite character study episode -- when the character being studied isn't Buffy anyway.

Honorary mention (in addition to the one for Dawn) for Faith Lehane. She's a fantastic character, though funnily enough my favorite incarnation of her is on AtS S4/BtVS S7, when she's all emotionally mature and repenty. And when she arguably gets the least narrative attention.
.
frayadjacent: Xena and Gab sexily staring into each other's eyes (Xena: Xena/Gab sexy)
This one is for [personal profile] endeni! I'm so sorry it's late.

I carry on about my love for my primary ship, Xena/Gabrielle, fairly often, at least for my level of dreamwidth talkiness. So I'll just say a few things that I love about this ship.

The first reason is that it's femslash, which I tend to go for more than het or guyslash (with the general acknowledgement that I'm not super shippy generally, and also the hopefully obvious caveat that I'm not criticising het or guyslash, just saying that it doesn't usually hit my buttons). Another reason: the characters have great chemistry together.

But the bigger reasons have to do with the kind of epic love story that Xena: Warrior Princess tells. Xena and Gabrielle's relationship is built on the kind of trust that comes from years of fighting alongside each other, seeing the best and worst in each other, and changing each other.

I also love that, while things like jealousy and insecurity exist in their relationship, it's not the primary source of drama in it (they're much too good at communicating for that, plus, like I said: years of trust). Their drama mainly comes from the ways that Xena's past comes back to haunt them. From their need to constantly negotiate the tensions between their love for each other, what kind of people they want to be, and what kind of people the world requires them to be.

I'd love to find an ace reading of Xena/Gabrielle, that presents their relationship as a powerful, emotionally strong and deeply committed asexual one. I think that would be cool. I think some of the Xena/Gabrielle "friendshippers" are probably homophobes and some of them are probably coming from a perspective like that one.

Other ships I like:

Root/Shaw from Person of Interest, my only antagonistic ship. Those two have amazing chemistry. (I stopped watching mid-S3, but [personal profile] goodbyebird's cap posts of Root/Shaw sometimes make me want to start again).

Buffy/Spike, but ONLY in season 7, and I like it as much as a non-sexual partnership as anything else. Their "I've seen the best and worst of you and fought at your side" thing is somewhat similar to Xena/Gabrielle in its appeal, though to a much lesser degree for me.

Mulan/Aurora in Once Upon a Time. I haven't watched since the mid-season hiatus last year, so my most recent thoughts on this one are that they disappointed me, but for a while there they were the butch/femme ship of my heart.

Willow/Tara, in seasons 4 & 5.

M'Lila/Lao Ma, in an AU where they both live. My only ship that isn't canon or super strong subtext, and entirely born out of vidding Become You and realising they'd be awesome together.

I feel like I should note that Tammi/Eric in Friday Night Lights would be my ship, except their ongoing conflict about how they prioritise Eric's career over Tammi's hits me way too close to home. It's well-handled by the show, but their relationship is often painful for me to watch.*

All in all, I'm a pretty boring shipper. I don't like relationship dynamics that seem unhealthy to me, I'm generally not into hateships, I am mostly delighted by loving, supportive, long-term (would not need to be monogamous, but usually are) partnerships. Especially if they are between women. I think this is related to why I have so few ships. ;)

*For the record, this is not an issue in my current relationship. I am one of the very few women scientists I know with a male partner who prioritises his career after mine.

frayadjacent: Close up of late-season Gabrielle in black & white (Xena: Gabrielle)
Your thoughts on the worldbuilding in The Steerswoman books. -- [personal profile] frith_in_thorns

 [Please note that, while there isn't a lot in the way of plot spoilers below, there are spoilers for things that many people really enjoy discovering as they read. If you haven't read at least the first two books but are considering it, I'd give this a pass for now.]

I have to admit I haven't given this question as much thought as I could, mostly because world building isn't something I pay a ton of attention to when I read. Not that it isn't interesting or important! But unless it hits one of my specific interests -- how does this economic system work? does their weather/climate make sense? how is race socially constructed in this society (and what does it mean if it isn't)? -- I don't notice a lot. That being said, I was mostly happy with the world-building in the Steerswoman books, and I'll talk a little bit more about why.

First off, the world that we are introduced to in the first book has some pretty cool features, namely the existence of the Steerswomen themselves, but also the general lack of sexism in the broader society. Women are warriors, soldiers, sailors, farmers, merchants, and even wizards. I feel like a lot of fiction, but this is probably more true of film and television than books, create societies that they claim are nonsexist, but utterly fail to actually show that. Having not just the two main characters be women, but also having many of the people from all walks of life that they encounter also be women was incredibly refreshing to read. As was the general respect given to Rowan and Bel by most characters. They didn't have to constantly prove themselves to people who didn't think women could be strong or smart.

(Sadly, the same cannot be said for representation of LGBTQIA characters or orientations, sadly.)

But when I think about the world-building in this series, I don't think so much about descriptions of the landscapes and social structures as I do the slowly unfolding discovery that the world is not what it seems, and in fact the book is not even the genre we thought it was. Of course this has huge ramifications for the landscapes and social structures and technology and everything else, but it plays out differently than in most books I've read because of the way that the reader is discovering things alongside the characters, as well as being given exposition about the world that the characters already know.

Speaking of exposition, the steerswoman, with her emphasis on seeking and sharing information and thinking things through carefully, is a nicely non-clumsy voice for explaining the world to readers. She's kind of like Giles that way. :)

Anyway, I liked how aspects of the world building that initially seemed incidental, such as the units for distance used by different peoples, turns out to be important clues. When Rowan uses miles and feet, I didn't really think anything of it, but later when Bel uses meters and kilometers, the world they are in suddenly seems connected to the world that we are in in a very different way than I originally imagined. The world at the start of the book seems like a less patriarchal version of the sort of mythic vaguely late feudalist or early capitalist Europe that is standard fare in many Western fantasy novels. By the end of The Outskirters Secret, it seems much more likely that their peoples are the cultural descendents of Europe and the people that Europe has colonized.

The reason I put it that way is because while the names of characters and towns suggests western European origin, the range of skin color and hair color and texture that various characters are described as having, along with a complete absence of discussion about race, hints to me that this is meant to be some sort of "post-racial because everybody is mixed race" (or, I suppose, "everybody is mixed race because we're post racial") world. Which is not something I'm super fond of, but I'm glad at least that many characters are described as dark-skinned. And perhaps I'm being ungenerous in my interpretation.

Also, I know this is not important to very many people, but I have to give Rosemary Kirstein a shout out for some very impressive dynamic meteorology in The Outskirters Secret. Her descriptions of what kind of weather would be caused by a very intense heating of a huge strip of land was pretty on point. I secretly wanted a short story where Rowan establishes the first steerswoman school of meteorology after those events! And actually speaking of weather and world building, it is a bit funny that the Steerswomen are documenting every change in every stream but don't seem to have any weather stations. I would think at the very least they could manage a mercury or alcohol thermometer and a wind vane in each town. And I do remember some generally confusing inconsistencies in what kind of knowledge and technologies Rowan's people had, although I can't think of any examples right now.

At any rate, there are still so many unanswered questions in that series, many of which revolve around the origins of Rowan and Bel's societies and how they came to not only lose a lot of technology but apparently forgot that they ever had it. (Along with, of course, what the hell Slado is up to, but that doesn't fall under world-building in my head.) I have to admit that I had hoped that after four books that I know more about the world and its back story then I do, but I also have faith that it will all be explained in due time. Assuming anyway that Kirstein finishes the series. In the meantime, I am thoroughly enjoying the discussion on James Nicholl's reviews. As well as being reminded that I should re-read these books because I've already forgotten a ton.

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