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Tanith Lee, 1947-2015

This has been a very bad year for deaths in SF&F, and the year is not even half over.

My all-out favorite Lee is Kill the Dead: something about the combo of lush spookiness and mordant humor. Parl Dro is one of my favorite characters ever.




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They've extended Monday's registration window until 11:30 their server time, which I think is U.S. Pacific Time, so you have a few hours.

Get your own pretty pixel beasts, give them animal buddies, bling them out, mate them and raise their babies, fight monsters in the Coliseum for fun and profit, etc.

Pardess, a female Guardian:


Ketzef, a male Wildclaw:


Bereketli, a female Pearlcatcher:


Shipat, a male Imperial:

See also the DW community for the game right here. And let me know if you sign up: I'll send you some lair-warming gifts.

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Happy Birthday lawless523!

I hope you had a great day!

Man oh man, I have been rubbish at birthdays lately ... .

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Goofy, childish folklore scholar Kantarou Ichinomiya (the English translation uses Western name order) ekes out a living by writing books from his research, but his actual passion is encountering and befriending youkai. In his youth, his ability to see youkai caused him to be shunned by other children, and he became convinced that his problems would all be solved by finding the famous demon-eating tengu (a classic Japanese monster with birdlike characteristics, although the only birdlike thing about the two tengu seen so far in this series are their feathered wings). When Kantarou finds the tengu in the opening chapter of the series, he binds the creature by giving him a name, Haruka. The handsome humanoid becomes part of Kantarou's household, along with a fox youkai woman named Yoko who serves as cook, maid, and menial-of-all-work. She's the one who has to go out and earn them all a living when Kan-chan's slacking off.

The outline of the story sounds roughly like Natsume's Book of Friends, but notice that Kantarou is binding youkai, not releasing them. Also, instead of the touching, lonely little child Natsume that we see in flashbacks in that series, li'l Kan-chan is an absolute parody of a cutesy manga tot, and the English translation has him speak in the kind of twee childish lisp that Dorothy Parker parodied when she said (in her review of The House at Pooh Corner) "Tonstant Weader fwowed up." Kantarou is feckless, bossy, has no sense of boundaries, can't seem to acknowledge that he has enslaved Yoko and Haruka, and does things like drag them off to a hot springs resort (paid for by his editor) and then complain that they still look sulky.

Man, do I want to smack the living shit out of him.

I disliked him rather less on my re-read before writing this, enough so that I ordered the rest of this shounen series secondhand (Tactics was a victim of Tokyopop's demise and ends in official English translation with volume 8). The plot mainly involves Kantarou's investigations of strange phenomena that typically turn out to involve youkai. Sometimes things end relatively happily, but when they don't, Kantarou proves himself a true cousin of Yuuko (xxxHolic) and Count D (Pet Shop of Horrors) in arranging for unpleasant fates for the wicked.

Cut for more, including some spoilersCollapse )

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Black Lagoon News!

OMG, you guys! Volume 10 is out! Why didn't anybody TELL ME?

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Nature Red in Beak and Claw

I intervened, likely to no good effect.

I simply could not walk past the spectacle of a full-grown blue jay beating the stuffing out of a fledgling sparrow in the bank parking lot on the way up from the Metro.

The sparrow's near relatives were screaming and buzzing, and as I got near, a bunch of them took off after something that fled across the street: probably the blue jay's mate. The fledgling was still flapping its stubby wings and trying to evade the blue jay's beak. I chased off the predator and picked up the birdling: still alive, and not visibly too torn up although there was a little blood on it. I carried it to some shrubs, with my hands cupped around it, and tried to get it to perch, but the little claws weren't gripping, so it was probably pretty messed up.

I tucked it near the roots of the shrub, and it probably died later of its injuries, or a cat got it, or the blue jay finally figured out my sleight of hand and came after it again: the jay was fruitlessly searching where its prey had last been seen when I left.

And of course this could well mean that the blue jay's own fledglings went hungry this evening. Mother Nature is an unforgiving bitch sometimes.

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"Shut Up and Dance" by Walk the Moon

From The Young Lady, who had it recced to her by Pandora. Isn't it fun?

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Why, It's the iPod Meme!

I see that I did this only about 6 months ago, but the heck with it, I love me some constrained randomosity (in that there is a set number of songs, but within that set, it's random)... .

You can tell a lot about someone by the music they listen to. Hit shuffle on your iPod/iPhone/iTunes/media player and write down the first 10 songs. Then pass this on to 10 people. ... No tagging here, but I'd enjoy seeing your song lists.


  1. Hakol Over (This Too Shall Pass) - Idan Raichel Project
  2. A Lonely Voice - October Project
  3. Come to My Window - Melissa Etheridge
  4. Golden Slumbers - The Beatles
  5. Two Tickets to Paradise - Eddie Money
  6. Downtown Train - Everything but the Girl (Rod Stewart cover)
  7. Helen O'Grady/Drops of Brandy - Maggie Sansone (solo hammer dulcimer)
  8. East St. Louis Toodle-oo - Steely Dan (Duke Ellington cover)
  9. Car on a Hill - Joni Mitchell (YouTube link)
  10. Northwest Passage - Stan Rogers

The Joni Mitchell is one of my favorite songs ever, from the opening sax riff to the strange bridge in the middle to the sad, dreamy finish:

"It always seems so righteous at the start
When there's so much laughter, when there's so much spark
When there's so much sweetness in the dark ... ."

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I Was Very Pleased to See This

Familiarize yourself with the Hugo mess before voting

"Apparently a concerted effort gamed the Hugos ... ." - C.J. Cherryh

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