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[personal profile] selenak
Back when I marathon-read Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series, I saw he's also authored a lot of novels for children, and had a new one coming out this month, a standalone called Frederick the Great Detective, which, however, mysteriously seems to be available in German before it is in English. (Mysterious because Kerr's Scottish and writes in English, and the novel, which got released today, is indeed translated from the English original, I checked the imprint.) Anyway, the novel has a very similar premise to a movie I saw at last year's Munich Film Festival, Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday - the review I wrote about the film is here: boy falls in love with Emil and the Detectives, befriends its author, Erich Kästner, in the twilight of the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich ensues, boy tries to maintain ideals of novel versus increasingly awful reality. Having read the novel now, I can add a further parallel: both Friedrich in Frederick the Great Detective and Hans in Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday have an older sibling who is enthusastically joining the Nazi cause. My original suspicion as to why Kerr picked a fictional main character instead of Hans, who actually existed and did befriend Erich Kästner, was because Hans' fate was sealed by history, and that Kerr wanted a better fate for his young hero. Spoilers ensue. )However, by that point, I had already guessed various other reasons why Kerr chose a fictional over a fictionalized "real" main character, and the differences to Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday are instructive here.

For starters, there's the difference in focus: Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday is, as far as Hans is concerned, a coming of age story - he goes from child to teenager and young man in the course of the story - and has Erich Kästner as the other lead, whose perspective through the movie is even the slightly favored one. Frederick the Great Detective, by contrast, has Kästner only as a supporting character, aside from a prologue and an epilogue ends in late 1933/early 1934, and is above all a homage to Kästner's novel in structure, focusing on Friedrich and his same-age friends, who play detectives until it gets lethally dangerous. (The adults, whether benevolent or malignant or in between, are seen from the outside, the point of view is Friedrich's throughout.) For, befitting the author of the Gunther mysteries, there are actually cases to solve. (Though as opposed to Bernie, young Friedrich - who wants to become a detective through much of the novel - gets the point that you can't be a detective in a system where the criminals have taken over when Kästner desperately tells him just this.)

Indeed, while reading I wondered whether the basic idea for the novel might not have been a wish to write a sequel to Emil which tackles how Emil & Co. would act when the Third Reich starts, because Friedrich's gang with its twins has some similarities. Then again, Friedrich has a distinctly different background to Emil (or Hans Löhr) - no working class single parent mother, instead, middle class parents with his father a journalist and friend of Kästner's, which is the original connection, which allows Kerr to depict the way the press lost its freedom within a year. It also allows Kerr to let Friedrich and his parents vacation on Rügen where Friedrich meets Christopher Isherwood and Isherwood's boyfriend Heinz on the beach. (Leading to a charming scene where Friedrich manages to solve his very first case by finding Isherwood's lost watch.) Kerr provides quite a lot of real life characters making cameos throughout the novel - Billy Wilder (during the premiere of the "Emil and the Detectives" movie version which he scripted), Max Liebermann, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Walter Trier etc. - but the Isherwood cameo was for me the most vivid of these. (And I'm not surprised, having come across an interview where Kerr says bascially Berlin for him as a reader, before he got there, was invented by two British writers, Christopher Isherwood and John Le Carré.)

Kästner himself lis of course the real life character with the most page time, but he feels more like a generic version of Kästner's author persona than an actual attempt at depiction of the man. (As opposed to the Kästner in Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday.) Meaning: he's a benevolent adult the way, say, Justus the Teacher in "Das Fliegende Klassenzimmer" is, with no hint of any inner conflicts, and Kerr slims down the biographical and authorial data about him to "wrote Emil and the Detective, also works as a journalist"; in this book, there are no mentions of either Kästner's other books for children or his adult novel, Fabian (the one who got burned by the Nazis at the 1933 book burning), nor of his sharp political poetry (which in Germany he was and is almost as well known for as for his prose). (Hence ahistorically Emil ends up as the burned book, when in rl Emil and the Detectives was so popular that it got published, as the only one of Kästner's works, within Germany until 1936. Then it was for the axe as well.) The one biographical background fact about Kästner mentioned in conversation by Friedrich's father is in fact a wrong one, or rather, a wrong assumption, that Kästner's mother, like Emil's, raised her son alone. In rl, not only was Kästner's father around and in contact with his son, but he outlived Kästner's mother. There is, however, a reason why I didn't mind this particular wrong statement, which is: Kästner kept his father and his relationship with him very low key as long as his mother was still alive, while his relationship with his mother was intense and very public, so a colleague from work like Friedrich's father could be forgiven for assuming the guy was either dead or had left the family. ( If you've read Kästner's autobiographical writings, one of the most memorable childhood scenes which makes you cringe in sympathy is his parents' christmas competition about him, when his father, a craftsman, proudly presented presents he made with his own hand while his mother spent all her money on presents, and both parents would regard whichever present their son showed any favour to as proof whom he loved more or a rejection respectively. And thus it went on for as long as Kästner's mother lived.)

What the novel does really well, though, is presenting a group of children responding to their world changing radically, and Friedrich as a likeable child hero who ends up rejecting the demagogery, scapegoating and promise of glory that lures his older brother in because he sees how both people he knows and strangers are abused in its name. Again, in an homage to Kästner's novel which has a memorable dream sequence, Friedrich's ongoing crisis of conscience and wonder how to avoid becoming a Nazi himself climaxes in a surreal dream where the various things he has experienced come together. The lesson he draws from this is simple and profound at the same time, very Kästnerian and indeed great advice in current day circumstances as well, to the question as ow to act: Be kind. Being kind and you can't become what you fear and hate. Be kind.

Mind you, the 1945 prologue and epilogue does spoilery things ) But all in all, Frederick the Great Detective is still a very readable children's novel set in a dark time which also manages to pay homage to a classic while being its own thing.

Nominations Queries Post Three

Sep. 22nd, 2017 10:16 pm
morbane: Utena Shadow Girls Santa picture with text "absolute destiny apocalypse yuletide" (Utena)
[personal profile] morbane posting in [community profile] yuletide_admin
We have been working on the tag set for 144 hours, and the number of individual fandom nominations has gone down from 5058 to 618. There are 2779 approved fandoms now in the tag set. We’re in the home stretch! (The not very fast home stretch.)


Please help us with the following issues:

2017 Oscars RPF / Academy Awards RPF - These were each submitted with the same character nominations: Andrew Garfield and Dev Patel. Nominators, do you have a strong preference as to what fandom label is used?

Chronicles of the Raven - James Barclay - Ry Darrick only seems to appear in the sequel trilogy; is that incorrect, or does this fandom label cover both trilogies? We’d also appreciate a little more information on the Unknown Warrior.

Dallas Stars (Hockey RPF) - Justin Courtnall does not appear to belong in this category; please comment, or we will either move him to another category (if an appropriate one exists) or reject him. It is not clear to us that Katie Hoaldridge is a celebrity in her own right; could the nominator please give their reasoning?

動物戦隊ジュウオウジャー | Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger - the character Insarn does not seem to belong here. Did you mean Naria?

Element of Fire - Martha Wells - this is nominated with the characters Giliead (Ile-Rien), Ilias (Ile-Rien), and Tremaine Valiarde. The characters don’t seem to match the fandom. Nominator, would you prefer to change the fandom or the characters?

Forgotten Realms - for Khelben Arunsun, is Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun or Khelben Arunsun the Younger meant, please?

Giant Robo - This is nominated with the characters Alberto (Giant Robo), Ginrei (Giant Robo), Hanzui (Giant Robo), Ivan (Giant Robo), Kenji Murasame (Giant Robo), Shokatsuryou Koumei, Sunny the Magician, Taisou (Giant Robo), Tetsugyu (Giant Robo), and Youshi (Giant Robo). As far as we can tell, this is a mix of 1960 and 1990s anime. Nominators, could you please confirm which media you want and if they should be separated out or sent through together?

合法ドラッグ | Gouhou Drug | Legal Drug - the character Watanuki Kimihiro doesn’t seem to belong here. Nominator, could you please clarify?

No Game No Life - Kamiya Yuu - we're a little confused by the character 『 』| Kuuhaku | Blank. Could the nominator please give their reasoning for nominating this character separately?

Numbers (Anthropomorphic) - There are multiple sets of nominations for this fandom. Going by fandom spelling, respectively, the characters nominated are:
  • -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 7, Golden Ratio, Pi

  • -128, -i, 0.5, 12, 16, 256, i, sqrt(2)

  • 666, e, j, k

The last set in particular is confusing us. Do j and k together (without i?) refer to components of a unit vector? Or, if j and k refer to unrelated concepts, is j being used as notation for the square root of negative one, or something else, and what is k? Is this meant to denote 1000? Nominators, please elaborate on your thinking.

Smosh - the characters nominated are Keith Leak Jr., Noah Grossman, Olivia Sui, and Shayne Topp. Could the nominator please clarify if this is a nomination for RPF, or for fictionalized characters that share the names of the real people?

Trial and Error (TV 2017) - We can't find the character Anne Cox. Could the nominator please confirm and give us pointers to when she appeared?

You Could Make a Life Series - Taylor Fitzpatrick - we can’t find the characters Mason Draper and Nate Wozniak. Could the nominator(s) give us pointers, please?



All Media Types fandoms
We need clarification from the person (or people) who nominated the following fandoms. Please specify a single version of the canon and provide a link to your nominations page so we can confirm the nomination. If these aren't answered, the fandoms will be rejected:
  • Kino no Tabi | Kino's Journey - All Media Types, characters: Kino (Kino no Tabi)

  • Kurosagi - All Media Types, characters: Kashina Masaru, Katsuragi Toshio, Kurosaki (Kurosagi), Yoshikawa Tsurara

  • The Martian - All Media Types, characters: Beth Johanssen, Chris Beck, Mark Watney (The Martian - All Media Types)

  • Paint Your Wagon, characters: Ben Rumson, Elizabeth (Paint Your Wagon), Schermerhorn (Paint Your Wagon), Sylvester Newel. Did you want the movie or the musical, please?

  • Rookies - Morita Masanori & Related Fandoms , characters: Aniya Keiichi, Kawatou Kouichi, Mikoshiba Tooru, Shinjou Kei

  • A Room With a View - All Media Types, characters: Charlotte Bartlett, Eleanor Lavish

  • 屍者の帝国 | Shisha no Teikoku | Empire of Corpses - All Media Types, characters: Alexei Karamazov, Friday, John Watson (Shisha no Teikoku), Nikolai Krasotkin

  • XCOM (Video Games) & Related Fandoms, characters: Firebrand, Lily Shen (XCOM), The Commander (XCOM)



Ensemble characters
We will accept labels like “the Council” or “the hunters” for characters in cases where the ensemble does not have different distinct characters in it. For the following fandom, please either confirm that there are no distinct characters in the group, or pick a single character out of the group you’ve nominated:
  • Compendium of World Knowledge - John Hodgman - Hobos, possibly also Cryptozoologists (?)




If you are commenting about your own nomination to say what you would like done with characters or fandoms, please link your nominations page! It is the page you get by clicking ‘My Nominations’ from the tag set.

If you notice any problems with your nominations - mis-spellings, etc - feel free to comment on this post.

(no subject)

Sep. 21st, 2017 11:16 pm
starandrea: (Default)
[personal profile] starandrea
Alex: “You owned a Sha'erah, according to Miranda."
Paulson: "Well, I... I suppose."
Alex: "You suppose? How do you own someone and not quite recall exactly? Did you, or didn't you?”

--Kristine Williams, Madness

Sidetracks - September 21, 2017

Sep. 21st, 2017 06:45 pm
helloladies: Gray icon with a horseshoe open side facing down with pink text underneath that says Sidetracks (sidetracks)
[personal profile] helloladies posting in [community profile] ladybusiness
Sidetracks is a collaborative project featuring various essays, videos, reviews, or other Internet content that we want to share with each other. All past and current links for the Sidetracks project can be found in our Sidetracks tag. For more links and commentary you can follow us on Twitter, Tumblr. You can also support us on Patreon.


Read more... )
maldoror_chant: (Default)
[personal profile] maldoror_chant
Heeeere we go, the big daddy.
Following my lil' fic musings post awhile back, I've decided to post it As Is, bar a punctuation revamp and some very minor corrections, aka, removing three out of four 'Cobalt blue's. So a level 2. As per anushca1's and others' suggestion, I'll post it warts and all, and then maybe, in the far future when I run out of projects and I have lots of spare time (shortly after the sproutlet leaves for university, then) I might take it out again and produce The Arrangement 2.0. In that case, though, I'd leave both versions available. Not sure I'd ever go there, I do have other projects I'd like to tackle eventually, but the possibility being out there makes me much happier posting it as is, flaws and all.

The Arrangement (Gundam Wing, HeeroxWufei, NC17 please read warnings etc)
Wufei, struggling with his demons, agrees to a wartime fling with Heero, no affection needed or wanted. But the 'arrangement' lasts and grows as they join the Preventers. It could become a source of strength for both. If they let it.

Big thanks again to Cyphomandra for sending me the handy word doc with everything already in editable format AND all the quotation mark punctuation issues addressed. Saved me SO MUCH TIME and irritation! <3

There's still some fixin' to be done, and man, this is how I measure how much I've changed and improved as a fic writer ^^; But I also see themes and character traits that still appear in my stories to this day pop up. Hah, it's a fun trip down memory lane.

(no subject)

Sep. 20th, 2017 06:04 pm
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[personal profile] onyxlynx
 L'Shanah Tovah! to those who celebrate!
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[personal profile] galacticjourney

By Ashley R. Pollard

The end of summer has come, and autumn is upon us. The result of the Earth’s journey around the sun, and as my esteemed colleague Mr. Mark Yon said, the weather here has been wet. Sometimes we get good summers, but this year was not one of those, the icing on the cake being a miserable August Bank Holiday weekend after the weekend before’s promising sunny day. But, Whether the weather be fine, Or whether the weather be not, here on Galactic Journey we will weather the weather to bring you the latest Sci-Fi news from soggy Britain.



This coming Saturday will see the last episode of Out of this World, which has made staying in on a Saturday night something to look forward to, rather than something that indicates one has no friends or better things to do...

(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)

Requiescat in Pace

Sep. 20th, 2017 01:03 pm
onyxlynx: Some trees and a fountain at a cemetery (A Fine and Private Place)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
All NYTimes obits:
reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
[personal profile] reviews_and_ramblings
Tal Bauer Enemy Within (The Executive Office #3)
Gay - Contemporary Romance
Series: The Executive Office (Book 3)
Paperback: 483 pages
Publisher: Independently published (March 27, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1520907931
ISBN-13: 978-1520907932
Amazon: Tal Bauer Enemy Within (The Executive Office #3)

The White House, infiltrated. The president, running for his life. A traitorous general, intent on burning the world to the ground. When everything falls apart, who do you trust? President Jack Spiers fled Washington DC on the heels of a devastating attack on CIA headquarters, masterminded by one of America’s own, former General Porter Madigan. While the world believes Jack was killed in the bombing, he embarks on a wild infiltration mission, smuggling himself into occupied Russia to rescue the love of his life: former Secret Service Agent and First Gentleman Ethan Reichenbach. Reunited, Jack, Ethan, and deposed Russian president Sergey Puchkov, along with President Elizabeth Wall—the only person left in Washington DC who Jack trusts—must work together. They piece together a desperate plan, hunting Madigan to the ends of the earth and the bitter frigidity of the Arctic, where Madigan’s world-shattering doomsday plan comes together. Outnumbered, outmaneuvered, and outgunned, Jack, Ethan, Sergey, and the rest of the team struggle to put a stop to Madigan and his army. In the desolate extremes of the Arctic, their resolve, their strength, and even their love is tested, pushed to the absolute limits as choices must be made: choices that pit the fate of the world against the love in their hearts, and the loves of their life. As the world crumbles around them, Jack and Ethan find themselves waging a war on two fronts—against an enemy they can see, and another, hiding within their ranks. Who can be trusted when the enemy is within you?
reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
[personal profile] reviews_and_ramblings
Tal Bauer Hush
Gay - Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 460 pages
Publisher: Independently published (July 28, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1521946493
ISBN-13: 978-1521946497
Amazon: Tal Bauer Hush

A federal judge running from the truth. A U.S. marshal running from his past. A trial that can plunge the world into war. Federal Judge Tom Brewer is finally putting the pieces of his life back together. In the closet for twenty-five long years, he’s climbing out slowly, and, with the hope of finding a special relationship with the stunning Mike Lucciano, U.S. Marshal assigned to his D.C. courthouse. He wants to be out and proud, but he can’t erase his own past, and the lessons he learned long ago. But a devastating terrorist attack in the heart of DC, and the subsequent capture and arrest of the terrorist, leads to a trial that threatens to expose the dark underbelly of America’s national security. As Russia beats the drums of war, intent on seeking revenge, and the United States struggles to contain the storm before it races out of control, secrets and lies, past and present, collide in Judge Tom Brewer’s courtroom. With the world’s attention fixed on Tom and this case, he suddenly discovers he may be the only person who can put everything together in time to stop the spark of a new world war.

Hippo, Birdie, Two Ewes

Sep. 20th, 2017 07:44 am
onyxlynx: Festive pennants in blue & purple with word "Birthday" centered. (Birthday)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
to [personal profile] serene !  Hoping next year is better.
the_shoshanna: my boy kitty (Default)
[personal profile] the_shoshanna
The day after the typhoon was calm and blue and beautiful. And then we did a whole lot of stuff! )And collapsing is our plan now!
starandrea: (Default)
[personal profile] starandrea
"just give it one more try
to a lullaby, turn this up on the radio
if you can hear me now I'm reaching out
to let you know that you're not alone"
--nickelback, "lullaby"

Adaptions and remixes

Sep. 20th, 2017 12:07 pm
selenak: (Borgias by Andrivete)
[personal profile] selenak
Two filmed novels in, the tv version of JKR's written-as-Robert-Galbraith mystery novels called Strike comes across as very enjoyable. Holiday Grainger is a delight as Robin, Tom Burke still isn't how I imagined Cormoran Strike, but he's entertaining to watch, and they have good chemistry. Inevitably, characters and subplots were for the axe in both Cuckoo's Call and The Silkworm, but so far they've kept the important emotional beats. In the case of The Silkworm, I'm especially glad my favourite sentence of the entire novel gets to be used in dialogue, though a different character gets to say it on tv: Writers are a savage breed, Mr. Strike. If you want life-long friendship and selfless camraderie, join the army and learn to kill. If you want a lifetime of temporary alliances with peers who will glory in your every failure, write novels."

Of the guest stars, the actresses playing Leonora and Orlando were especially good. I do notice that some of the sharpness of the novels is lost when it comes to politics. I mean, The Silkworm, the novel, has passages like this: : Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, was announcing plans to slash 350 million pounds from the legal aid budget. Strike watched through his haze of tiredness as the florid, paunchy man told Parliament that he wished to 'discourage people from restoring to lawyers whenever they face a problem, and instead encourage them to consider more suitable methods of dispute resolution.' He meant, of course, that poor people ought to relinquish the services of the law. Nothing like it on tv. But the result still doesn't feel as awfully castrated as the tv version of The Casual Vacancy, which lost all the bite and anger and ruined what might not have been a masterpiece but was a novel with genuine points to raise by turning it into inoffensive blandness, more angry reviews here, possibly because such asides aren't the main issue in the Galbraith novels.

In other news, [community profile] missy_fest has been revealing one Missy story per day-ish. This was the smallest ficathon I ever participated in, but a delight to write and read, and as soon as it's de-anonymized, I'm going to link and talk about the story I wrote. Meanwhile, check out the one I received, which was The Master's Faithful Companion (Forever or Just A Day Remix), which remixed my story Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
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[personal profile] giandujakiss
The GOP broke off bipartisan talks with Dems to shore up ACA's insurance markets, and now they're trying - again - to unilaterally repeal ACA and take with it a huge chunk of Medicaid (which will, of course, completely destabilize our entire healthcare system, but that's where we are).

You can find more information by googling Graham-Cassidy, but here's one link.

Apparently, Lindsey Graham - one of the bill's sponsors - got on Breitbart radio (yes, now we're integrating Breitbart into GOP mainstream, fun times ahead) to urge listeners to call in support of the new bill, so it's VERY IMPORTANT that the Senate be flooded with opposition calls.

Here is one script and information resource.

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