Seen all over the place: This Insane New App Will Allow You To Read Novels In Under 90 Minutes.
To which my initial response is,
a) thank you, there are already novels that I can ingest in that time
b) why would you want to, unless it's a really short novel to begin with?
I can see that there are people for whom this would be valuable assistive technology (though I'm not sure whether it's really that appropriate for novels or recreational reading generally, rather than the things one HAS to read for some purpose or other).
Though another question is, how far would one retain anything and how far would something read in this way mean anything? The words have flashed past the eyes, what remains?*
But one thing that sprang to mind is that for people who are already fairly fast readers, this would be absolutely maddening (not to mention, probably productive of motion sickness or migraine, flick-flick-flick as words flash up), because I don't read word by word
and I believe research shows that after a certain level of reading competence, people read by sentence/block of text, and there is a difference between readers whose eyes flick from side to side across the page and those who go, pretty much, straight down. 'The eye's natural motion' in reading is not a universal given.
*Looking at the longer history of speed-reading, we are given to wonder if this is just techno snake oil.
Chapter Thirteen of Best Laid Plans by forsaken2003.
Chapter Three of Pieces of a Puzzle by lusciousxander.
Chapter Three of Despair and Delight by salustra.
Fred icons by spikesredqueen.
TotalFilm includes Oz, Lilah, Darla, Drusilla, Wesley, Buffy, Andrew, Willow, Xander, Lorne, Faith, Cordelia, Spike, Anya, Fred in their "20 Greatest Joss Whedon Characters". "You go to a Halloween party, make all the effort of hiring an extravagant costume and slathering yourself in make-up. Then Oz (Seth Green) turns up in his regular clothes and an unobtrusive name sticker that simply reads: 'God.'...At first a somewhat forgettable B-character in a suit who crops up in Angel's first season, Lilah soon transforms into one of the show's greatest she-bitches - always ready with a tart put-down, she's a Machiavellian schemer who does her own thing (when she's not answering to the suits upstairs, of course)...She's the perfect mirror to Buffy, herself a convention-flouting blonde bombshell, though with a very different agenda. (Darla also helps to establish that Angel very much has a type.)...Like a bat out of hell, Drusilla (Juliet Landau) descended on Buffy season two with her own very special brand of cuckoo. She's just the kind of nuts that Whedon does so well. A total conundrum, she's alternately innocent, childlike, deadly and demonic...If we'd told you when Wesley Wyndam-Pryce (Alexis Denisof) first wafted onto the scene in Buffy's third season that he'd become one of the darkest, most captivating anti-heroes in the Whedonverse, you'd probably have laughed in our face...Charged with fighting monsters as a teenager, she goes through all the trials that most young people face (college, first jobs, first loves, deaths in the family), always with a quick one-liner and a stake at the ready. It's her journey that we go on for seven years, and what a journey it is...His defining moment (aside from getting beaten up by Anya) comes in 'Storyteller', in which we see the movements of Buffy and her friends through Andrew's fanciful eyes...Of all the characters on Buffy, it's perhaps Willow who develops the most over the show's seven seasons. Initially an awkward nerd, she graduates literally and metaphorically when she becomes interested in magic - which turns out to be an extended metaphor for homosexuality (and, later, less cleverly, drug addition, but we'll ignore that)...Though he's rarely at the centre of the story, season three episode 'The Zeppo' was a master class in alt-POV storytelling - while Buffy and co fight the apocalypse, Xander's got his own non-end-of-the-world problems to contend with...When he's not interfering with Angel's broody schtick by referring to him as "angel cakes" and "angel face", Lorne (otherwise known as 'The Host'), quickly turns into a valuable ally - not least because he has a direct line to the Powers. Also, he's fabulous...Initially conceived of as a dark slayer yin to Buffy's bubbly slayer yang, Faith (Eliza Dushku) is like the awesome older sister you're probably glad you never had - dark, dangerous, rule-trashing, tough as nails, always ready for a fight - and yes, she's smoking hot, to boot...Entertainingly snippy but dismissable in early seasons of Buffy as a prom queen with pointier fangs than most vampires, Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter) was granted unexpected depth by Whedon and his writers over the course of her time on Buffy...Spike's an infinitely more interesting vampire than wet-blanket Angel (even Angelus can't hold a flame to him). He's killed two Slayers in his time, he's named after a railroad spike and his style icon is Billy Idol...Frank to the max, Anya's everything you'd expect an ex-demon to be - cynical, obsessed with money and sex, and hopelessly confounded at every turn by the weirdness that is humanity...By the end of her first season (Angel's third), though, Fred's proved she's vital to Angel Investigations. Not only does she boast an intellect to rival even Wesley's, she's also the sweetest thing you ever did see.
WhatCulture lists "10 Things Angel Did Better Than Any Other Show".
HuffingtonPost talks to SMG. And how the cast keeps in touch .
This has been one of those exasperating weeks full of meetings internal and external which have broken up my days in such a way that I have been able to get on v little with current cataloguing project, which is just a tad ironic as two meetings this week (and one last) were relating to a project which is going to be rather dependent on this collection actually being bloody catalogued.
Research leave is not quite definite but looking distinctly possible.
My poor sickly tablet has been checked out of hospital and appears so far to be in fine fettle (apart from the sheer hassle of getting everything back on it).
I have had some very flattering feedback apropos of the talk I gave last week.
To be completely original one would have had to a) create language and b) develop the idea of telling a story all by one's lonesome. Short of doing what the Emperor Frederick II did and bring up children without any interaction with other human beings (they all died) to see what language they would speak, this is not really a feasible model.
When we talk of cooking something 'from scratch' we don't actually mean that e.g. we have developed agriculture or at the very least harvested seeds of wild wheats, milled the grain, mixed the flour with water, left the dough out for wild yeasts to start fermenting; or that we have hunted and slaughtered the animal, butchered it, etc etc. What we tend to mean is that we have started from the raw materials already in our cupboards, using the equipment in our kitchen, rather than obtaining readymade.
Even radical gastronomy on the Blumenthal/Feran model doesn't actually commence from a naive premise of let's throw all the ingredients up in the air and see what comes down - it proceeds from a knowledge of existing food science, develops &/or subverts this.
It really helps, rather than hinders, to have a knowledge of what has gone before - cf the recurrent criticism of litfic writers who venture into genre and reinvent the wheel, sometimes as an octagon.
I will also surmise that there are some narrative tropes that have become completely detached from the origin tale, and that there are people churning out Orphan Heroine/Brooding Male/Looming House romances who have never read either Jane Eyre or even Rebecca. If one of them thinks, wow, wouldn't it be cool if his Dark Secret was a mad wife in the attic, is that ripping off Bronte?
Oft, oft have I bemoaned the Failure To Engage With Existing Literature by historians. In this, as in so many fields, it is not actually about dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, it is a whole lot of people of more or less standard size making small but significant contributions or new developments as part of a chain, a collective and cumulative endeavour.
Unfortunately, of course, the narrative trope of Amazing Game-Changing Original Discovery persists, it's as hard to kill as the Angel in the House
A Powerful Requiem , Cordelia/Angel by katleept.
Mother Dearest , Spike/Xander by forsaken2003.
Run For Your Life , Giles/Xander by il_mio_capitano.
Love Song for a Vampire (The Other Side), BtVS/Teen Wolf crossover by skargasm.
DenOfGeek visits the cast of AtS ten years later.
The Sky and I (6706 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: The Avengers (Marvel Movies), Marvel Cinematic Universe
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Clint Barton & Natasha Romanov, Clint Barton & Thor
Characters: Clint Barton, Natasha Romanov, Thor (Marvel)
Additional Tags: Thor The Dark World Compliant, Iron Man 3 Compliant, Captain America the Winter Soldier Compliant, (as much as it can be with the film not being out yet), Recovery, Developing Friendships, Introspection, New York, Not Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Compliant, Thor Is Not Stupid
If this is going to work, Clint needs to remember that Thor is not his brother.
This is not only one of those rare stories where Clint gets to deal with what Loki did to him in Avengers without the story leading up to hurt/comfort sex, but also a rare story that uses Thor in ways other than make fish-out-of-water jokes and/or pair him up with Loki. It makes sense that Clint would be wary at first around another Asgardian, but team-building stories post Avengers rarely tackle that, either. In short, it's a gem all around, and while Clint and Thor are the main focus, all the other Avengers are well written, too, and I loved reading it.
Queen of the Mountain (1397 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: The Avengers (Marvel) - All Media Types
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Tony Stark, Natasha Romanov
Remix fic, Avengers Remix Round 2
Tony needs some help, some advice on heroing. He gets a little more than anticipated.
Also a rarity: Tony and Natasha bonding (again, without leading uip to a pairing). This one is set post Iron Man 3, and executes its "Tony learns from Natasha" premise very well indeed in a short space.
Once Around the Park (1896 words) by AnonEhouse
Fandom: Iron Man (Movies), Iron Man (Comic), Iron Man - All Media Types
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Happy Hogan & Tony Stark
Characters: Happy Hogan, Tony Stark
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence, Crack Treated Seriously, Fluff and Crack, First Meetings
A totally non-canonical version of how Tony and Happy met.
(Although it's entirely possible that Marvel simply refused to tell the truth. I've read at least 2 different versions in the comics.)
Iron Man 3 left me craving more stories about Happy Hogan, and while there still aren't many, there are now at least some, including this delightful "first meeting" tale.
I've pulled some muscles in my tummy, probably from pushing heavy wheelbarrows through the wet mud on the way to the manure pile. It's hard work! Just shows me I need to work on those abs. Or wear a brace. I will survive.
The horses are very frisky in this weather, but they're really happy to come back into their nice dry stalls after a day out in the rain. They're all blanketed, so they don't get too wet, but most of them hate having the rain drip down their necks. Me too.
I bought a big jolly ball for Rochelle to play with. It's an inflatable ball about 2 feet in diameter, and I spent about an hour inflating it with the foot pump. I tossed it in the arena with her, and she snorted and ran away, then came back and looked at it, then ran away again. Eventually she'll get up the nerve to push it around, I think. If she doesn't like it, I know Midnight will happily try to destroy it.
Worked a night shift last night in ICU. It was pretty quiet. Things in ICU seem to go in cycles: we have a full house with lots of very sick patients, who then either get better or die, then we have a period where everyone seems to be just waiting for a bed on the wards, then it repeats. We're in the waiting for beds phase now. Tonight I'm in CCU.
Have to go make dinner now, then get ready for work.
Have a great evening!
What I read
Finished Sefi Atta, A Bit of Difference, which I really enjoyed - it doesn't really have a plot, but that is sort of the point, it is pretty much actively resisting the plot expectations (not to mention the cliche tropes of the African Novel).
Downloaded Diana Wynne Jones' The Islands of Chaldea (posthumous, unfinished, completed by her sister Ursula). Probably not among my top DWJs, but hey, we are grateful for any scraps.
Susan Scarlett (Noel Streatfeild), Babbacombe's (1941). I don't think it's so much that these get a bit predictable, because I can deal with predictable and sometimes it's what one wants, and she does vary setting, social milieu, etc. No, I just do not get on with plot of Nasty Cousin Comes to Stay and Is Also Love Rival when this character has no redeeming features, no redemption or even mild improvement trajectory, and no explanation for being toxic except Evil Heredity and possibly unwise upbringing. Makes E Blyton's Six Cousins look nuanced.
Latest Slightly Foxed.
Edmund Crispin, The Long Divorce (1948), surprisingly good. Lacked the various things that caused the Suck Fairy to have visited the last one of his I read (Holy Disorders), so maybe that was just not so great to begin with. Apart from its taking the plot with rather more seriousness and less annoying gamesome metaness, it has Mass Observation! and blood group typing! (though I'm not sure that this was quite as much of a forensic miracle device as he makes out) Plus, sympathetic women doctor character!
Because it had been sitting on the tbr pile for a while and after the Atta, seemed like a good next pick: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Purple Hibiscus (2004) And how. This was a compelling read about a family of Catholic converts in Nigeria from the first person pov of the adolescent daughter. The blurb mentions a final revelation of a dark family secret, but really, the attentive reader could spot that very early on. Did not stop it's being really gripping.
On the go
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun (2006) which is rather different from Purple Hibiscus with several viewpoint characters and a longer timespan: (so far) the early 1960s v shortly after Nigerian independence and then a jump to the development of the crisis leading to the secession of Biafra and the Nigerian Civil War. V good.
I think my loins might now be girded for the Big Fat Bio of Lady Rhondda.
"It is not appropriate to invade a country and at the end of a barrel of a gun dictate what you are trying to achieve."
Really? REALLY? YOU THINK?
Chapter Twelve of Best Laid Plans by forsaken2003.
Chapter Four of Monster in Her Man , Chapter Two of Despair and Delight and Chapter Thirty Four of In Hell's Wake by salustra.
ms_scarletibis is seeking a meta website .
Spike/Buffy video , thanks to eilowyn for the link.
Buffy banner by comlodge.
DenOfGeek talks folk and fairy tales as told by AtS.
ComicBookResources previews Angel & Faith, Season Ten, Issue No. One .
Vote for your favorite vampire slayer.
fandom: BEG RPF
pairings/characters: ace!Ga In, Miryo, (/ot4) (hints of Narsha/Miryo)
setting: college!AU (consequently I have disregarded stage names completely)
gift: for echomoon's birthday! Happy birthday sweetheart! Have some lady-cuddles!
a/n: totally and completely inspired by verity's recent (collaborative) Sterek cuddle-fic which you should all go read - even if you don't exactly ship Sterek or care about either one of them - because ace!cuddle-romances should be beloved and cherished across fandoms
( lady cuddles under the cut )
It is probably no news to my dr rdrz that I am not infrequently exasperated by narratives about the history of psychiatry/madness which make it All About Teh Wymmynz, with particular ire reserved for any kneejerk association with Female Creativity.
I am also so very over the fictional trope of the woman who has gone right over the edge of nervous breakdown and struck out into the seas of insanity.
I will concede that in film and on stage (not to mention opera) these may provide meaty roles in women-centred plots (my last 2 exposures to Cate Blanchett involved this in both two forms) but is it, perchance, just another allotrope of the edifying sight of female suffering? This has always been good for sales, I was going to say, since Samuel Richardson, but I think we can also finger Patient Griselda (even the Angel in the House might consider her a bit too hardcore). Wilkie Collins actually cynically fingered the truth that to be truly affecting the character who was either mad, or cruelly locked up as such even if sane, should not merely be a woman, but A Lady.
Given that the Jacobethan dramatists managed very nicely with the man runs raving trope, though we note that Ophelia and Lady Macbeth perhaps point the way to what was to come, what changed? Are there many books/plays/films/operas since then which have involved the affecting spectacle of men out of their wits?
Thinking about that annoying thing about C19th women and the 'liberating' potential of hysteria (sickbag please) I was thinking about Charcot's 'hysterics' and although they might be drawing spectactors from all over Europe and the Americas they remained banged up in the Saltpetriere.
And then I thought, but there they had a roof over their heads and 3 square meals a day, perhaps they thought that was worth doing a few extreme backbends, cartwheels, etc, and that possibly they could readily distinguish a hawk from a handsaw but there was no percentage in doing so.
*See Sheridan, The Critic Act III, Scene I.