wilderthan: ((AxelRoxas) Together)
A quick thought, that I should perhaps spend more time with sometime soon -- I basically write two kinds of fics: the kind I work really really hard on, and try to craft carefully, and the kind that I write for a quick smile, as a little gift. And I think they're probably comparable to, say, a fully-finished piece of artwork and a quick sketch, a doodle. I share my 'doodles' all the time -- the things I write for [personal profile] feywood when she gets up on time are 'doodles'. There's an opinion I've come across, when getting concrit and from people on my flists, that 'doodles' aren't worth sharing: they're not fully finished shiny products, I don't really expect concrit on them, etc, therefore I shouldn't share them at all.

And yet. I know people enjoy my little 'doodles'. I often get more comments on the 'doodles' than on a completely finished fic. I'm sure I've had more comments on my short Firefly fics than on my 20k, carefully crafted Big Bang fic. They're brain candy for me, writing them, and probably for the people reading them. I don't see why that should be so illegitimate a thing, in fandom. I might not be using my talents to the best of my ability, and my fics might end up a little self-indulgent, here and there, or perhaps (dare I say it) a bit pointless. But people enjoy them. And every single one of them is practice, even if ultimately it's not as shiny and interesting as it could be, because it might find for me an idea that I want to expand, or make me focus on dialogue, or on a strong opening line or ending line.

It's true, really, that I wouldn't publish them. I wouldn't expect, say, Neil Gaiman, to post little snippets of what he's working on while he's still working on it, or his practice pieces, or the things that didn't ultimately work out the way he wanted. That's true. But that's not what [personal profile] edenbound is for -- [personal profile] edenbound is an archive of everything I write, as long as I completed it and could stand to let anyone read it at all. It suddenly clicked with me that that's the case, and that I've openly stated that's the case, on the userinfo of the journal, and so people don't really have any right to come into my journal and tell me that I shouldn't post my 'doodles'. Which people have.

(It would be different, on a comm. I only post things to comms when I think they're worth spreading to a wider audience. And my Archive of Our Own account is the same thing.)

So I've just now realised that it's okay for me to write 'doodles', and to post them, because I know people are interested and enjoy them. And that I shouldn't feel slightly ashamed of it, because if you've friended that journal you can check the userinfo to see that that's what it may sometimes contain.

I can use my own ficjournal the way I want. What a revelation.
wilderthan: ((Gale) Demons)
I've already reviewed the novel Coraline, but this time I was reading the graphic novel adaptation, which was illustrated by P. Craig Russell. The art is okay, but since I've seen the 3D movie -- and liked it -- it took some getting used to. The graphic novel is a more faithful adaptation of the book than the movie was, from what I can remember. It's pretty much exactly the same, I think. It doesn't bring anything new to the book, apart from the visuals. Reading my original review, it seems like maybe the graphic novel has less to offer in some ways -- part of reading Neil Gaiman's work is his style and his wry little observations. Some of those are intact, but not as many as I remember.
wilderthan: ((Gale) Demons)
I just finished rereading Stardust, this time in the illustrated edition. The art is all by Charles Vess, and it's gorgeous. He has his own style, but the art is all accessible and pretty. I particularly liked the illustration of Tristan and Yvaine kissing, on page 202, and the design of Lady Una. I like the way he's portrayed all of the characters, really. It brings them to life in a lovely way, and the art is arranged nicely -- not distracting from the story, but adding to it.

I've always loved the book, and the movie is the movie I watch when I need comfort, so rereading was a happy occasion. I forgot how different the book and the movie are -- the movie is definitely an adaptation. Not that it's a bad thing: the way things happen in the book simply wouldn't translate to the screen.

The best things about Stardust, the book, are the tone in general and Yvaine's voice. The tone is kind of dryly humorous, gently mocking the fairytales it comes from and improves on, with fun conversations and great lines. Yvaine herself is awesome, with her grumpy sharpness and her angry obligation and her not-at-all-saccharine love. Compared to the movie, the realisation scenes are maybe a bit dry, and I wish there had been more with the boat in the sky, as in the movie, but all in all, I do love the book so much, and I think it's one of my comfort-books the same as the movie is my comfort-movie.

Perhaps my favourite part of all is the note Tristan and Yvaine leave, though: "Unexpectedly detained by the world."
wilderthan: ((Garnet) On my own)
So, [livejournal.com profile] bottle_of_shine is hosting another cat herding book reading challenge! This time we're to pick books we've read in the last couple of years -- and only five books! I'm assuming we're allowed to read older books that we only just got our hands on, otherwise my list would be quite limited... Anyway! Each book title links to my full review of the book, while the bits in this entry are me looking back with my rose-tinted glasses on.

1. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke.
I finished this one really recently, so it's fresh in my mind. It's a great thick brick of a novel, 1000 pages in the edition I have, and it combines the realist style of the Victorian period with fantasy! If you like Jane Austen (I don't) you might be pleased/interested to know that the style is a pastiche of her work. Which makes it pretty heavy going, but I ended up loving it a lot. You definitely have to give it a chance, and be prepared to roll with the meandering, slow plot, but I got to the end and wanted more. Good(?) news: there will probably be a movie (says IMDB) and a sequel may be in the works.

2. The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell.
This book is a really, really hard one. Not in terms of the writing, but emotionally, it packs a punch. It's science fiction, in a way, but it also focuses on the philosophy of religion and questions of faith. Sometimes the characters can be a little like cardboard cutouts, but there are some characters -- particularly the main one -- who stick in my head and won't get out. There is a sequel, but this one stands alone and doesn't need the sequel, I think. (My review of the sequel is here if you want to find out about it, though.)

3. Un Lun Dun, by China MiƩville.
This one's lighter and easier to read than the previous two -- I think I read it in a single evening. It has loads of cute ideas (a living milk carton named Curdle! ninja bins!) and is just generally quirky and much easier to read than China MiƩville's other stuff (e.g. Perdido Street Station, which almost made this list). I've given copies to several people who ended up loving it. Fun light reading! And Curdle. Read the book for Curdle, or he'll cry.

4. The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman.
I'm a total Gaiman fan, although it seems like quite a few of my friends just can't get on with his writing. This one is pretty light, as fantasy books go, too. It's The Jungle Book, sort of, but in a graveyard. The characters are amusing and occasionally amazing, and I just love the idea of a boy being raised by ghosts and a vampire. It is also well worth listening to him read it aloud here (for free!).

5. The Shining, by Stephen King.
This time last year, I wouldn't even have considered reading Stephen King. Now I've become very much a fan, so much so that this list wouldn't really feel right without me putting one of his books on it. I think a lot of people dismiss his writing because it's popular and he's a bestseller, etc, etc. His writing may not be that complex, it might not have those slick little touches of a really intellectual novel, but his writing works and is readable and absorbing, and he writes about real feelings and characters who could be real. What he makes up are the situations he puts them into. The Shining is a bit creepy, and quite a bit sad. If you haven't tried any Stephen King on the grounds that he's a talentless hack (I point fingers at my mother), I suggest you do try. Some of his books are definite 'misses' (I wouldn't recommend Bag of Bones to a new fan, for example) but sometimes he does really good things with characters and the situations he puts them into.

You guys, this was such a hard list to make. I feel sure all the books I left out are crying.
wilderthan: ((Edea) Sinister)
Death: The Time of Your Life is another story which includes Hazel and Foxglove, their son, and Death. You need to have read Death: The High Cost of Living and the volume of the main series which involves them, or you won't really get what the big deal is. It's quite a strange story, in which Hazel actually makes a deal with Death -- something apparently unheard of, and which certainly doesn't seem to fit into The Sandman canon. It basically has a message about/from Death: that she and her job, in a sense, remind us to live. Still, it's not really a story about Death, despite the title, it's a follow up on Foxglove.

It's an interesting little story, the art is good, and it's good to see some old characters again. Again, like many of the spinoffs, not wonderfully special.
wilderthan: ((Quistis) Sophisticated)
Merv Pumpkinhead: Agent of D.R.E.A.M. is a quite short and sweet comic. It's pretty amusing, based around Merv Pumpkinhead after his recreation by Daniel, and is full of references to James Bond, who Merv fancies himself to be rather like. There is some considerable doubt about that, considering the trouble he gets into!

This one is basically just light and funny, nothing incredibly new or deep, and it's nice that way.


The Furies is another Sandman Presents comic. This one takes up the story of Hippolyta Hall, set sometime after the final volume of the series. In it, she is still an 'imago', a channel for the Furies, and she's drawn into the quarrels of ancient gods -- Greek gods, unsurprisingly enough. This time, a quarrel between Hermes and Chronos. The story ends with some resolution for Lyta, which is nice, and we also briefly see the new Dream King.

The art in this comic is quite pretty, but it kind of hits uncanny valley for me. Also, Dream's new character design is odd.
wilderthan: (Default)
The Dead Boy Detectives manga is done by Jill Thompson, who also did the Death: At Death's Door manga. The art is really cutesy and the whole atmosphere is much lighter than in the actual series. It's fun to see Edwin and Charles, although there aren't really any other characters from the series in it. Death, Dream and the Corinthian all briefly appear, but only for a panel or two each, and not for any great plot purpose.

The plot is ridiculous and silly, and includes ghost boys in drag. It's fun, but nothing special.
wilderthan: ((Garnet) On my own)
I quite like the Sandman Presents comics. They aren't done by Gaiman, but by a range of artists and writers. They pick up on minor characters of the main series and follow them about a bit. Dead Boy Detectives features characters so minor you've probably forgotten them, Charles Rowland and Edwin Paine, who having escaped hell and Death, become detectives. In this volume, they're asked to solve a series of murders...

It's light reading, a little silly, and it's fun to see other minor characters showing up -- like Mad Hettie and Hob Gadling.
wilderthan: ((Squall) Lionheart)
Death: At Death's Door isn't written by Neil Gaiman. It's one of the spinoff novels, focusing mainly on death but also on Despair and Delirium. It's a manga, with manga style rather than any of the more typical styles for the series, which just looks odd. It's very very cute, but it looks odd. It suits Delirium, and mischievous-looking Desire is pretty awesome, but it looks weird on Destiny, Despair and Dream. Death pulls it off okay, she's cute as a button anyway, but... It still looks kind of weird.

The plot is based on Season of Mists, basically. It's just from a slightly different perspective and a lot of the scenes are repeated in the manga style. It sort of makes sense if you're reading it a long time after you've read the main series, but if you've read Season of Mists recently, it seems really pointless.

Plot-wise and character-wise, there really isn't much new. Death is a bit more specific about her job, and there's a party in Death's realm, but other than that, there's really nothing special. Get it if you're mad on collecting things, borrow it if you're not and you're curious, and don't bother if your eyebrows are raised right now. It is exactly as cutesy and lacking in substance as you're thinking.
wilderthan: ((Ashe) Smile)
It's a little inaccurate to tag this as a graphic novel, as it's actually more of a novella with illustrations. The illustrations are gorgeous -- but then, I expected that, since it's illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano (who did a lot of designs for the Final Fantasy game series).

It's a simple little story, based on a Japanese myth. The writing feels very much like a fairy tale, which is nice; Gaiman is good at adapting his writing. It's interesting to see how easily Dream and his realm are woven into the story which, I'm told, isn't much different to the original folk tale.
wilderthan: ((Garnet) On my own)
Endless Nights is an interesting collection of stories about the Endless, each with different art styles and different ways of telling the stories. Desire's has very sensual, "pretty" art, while Delirium's story is all over the place.

It's a very interesting novel. We get to see Delight, and one of Dream's early relationships, and Death in her early years... It's not a groundbreaking volume, really -- we don't learn anything revolutionary about the characters, just read a few untold stories that fill in a few details.
wilderthan: ((Edea) Sinister)
Death: The High Cost of Living is a short and sweet little comic, featuring Death as she appears in The Sandman, but as the star. None of the other Endless appear, instead it follows Death during her one day in a hundred years of being a mortal. It's a pretty simple little story: it's interesting because it stars Death, who as a character is awesome, but the story itself isn't dazzling. The art is nice and the bonus story where Death talks about STDs and such is fun, but in itself, it isn't dazzling and it's not a good introduction to the series.
wilderthan: ((Yuna) Dance)
This volume completes the series. The first part of it is very interesting, with the ceremony for the dead Dream and all the little details of the rules that surround this ceremony. It's an awesome sort of farewell to the series. All the character arcs are wrapped up and given some sort of resolution, even if the stories have been cut short by death.

Not my favourite volume, but a nice conclusion, with some beautiful art.
wilderthan: ((Squall) Lionheart)
The Kindly Ones is the heaviest of all the volumes, and the hardest to get through, because there's a lot packed into it and it's quite emotionally hard-hitting.

As a story, it's pretty amazing. A lot of threads come together in this book and you can finally see where everything was going all along -- so many characters are revisited and their stories tie firmly into the whole. I especially liked the reappearance of the Corinthian, and Nuala's story, which I was anticipating but still got me right in the heart. We don't actually see Orpheus in this volume, but he's still behind everything that's happening, in a way -- and yet all you need to know is that he was Dream's son and Dream killed him. It's really amazing how all the volumes tie together and yet can be read alone.

The art has changed a lot from the first volume, most noticably in this volume. In some ways, I like it a lot -- I particularly like Death and Delirium's character designs in this volume -- and in another way it's kind of jarring.
wilderthan: ((Simon) Can't take the sky)
Worlds' End is an interesting collection of stories, not quite in the vein of Dream Country or Fables & Reflections. A "reality storm" has occured, for some reason, and people end up all together in an inn called Worlds' End. They all tell stories, to pass the time. The stories are interesting enough, although I wanted them to be more connected to the series. Characters from other volumes did appear, which is to be expected from something that ties its threads as neatly as The Sandman does, but the Endless didn't really feature until the very end.

I'm assuming the ending is foreshadowing of something, and I'm interested to see what's going to happen.
wilderthan: ((FFVIII) Promise)
If you think you can get through these easily because they're "just" comic books, you're probably wrong. It's taking me a surprisingly long time to get through a single volume now I'm thoroughly embroiled in the series.

This volume stars Delirium and Dream, mostly. The other Endless all make their appearances, including the so far missing brother, Destruction, but it's mostly Dream and Delirium. Delirium is a really interesting character, and the implication that she might change again is interesting. Dream is growing up a bit, no matter what he thinks. The idea of one of the Endless abandoning their realm because they don't want their responsibilities is interesting: I assume it's going somewhere further than this.

The conclusion to Orpheus' little character-arc is quite sad, really, but also fitting. And it was good to see more of Desire and Despair and to see them with complex feelings you wouldn't expect -- like missing their brother, and being scared of what's to come.
wilderthan: ((Rinoa) Waiting)
Fables & Reflections is another volume that instead of having a story running through it, collects nine different stories. I didn't like this as much as I do the ones that have a whole story running through the whole volume -- which doesn't mean it's bad, that's just my preference.

The stories are interesting, in themselves. I particularly liked the one about Orpheus -- Calliope! -- and the last one in the volume, Ramadan. I really liked the art in both of those, as well, although the art in general in this volume is quite nice (where it isn't all gory).
wilderthan: ((Garnet) On my own)
A Game Of You is quite an interesting volume. This one isn't focused on Dream, at all, in one sense -- on the other, it's all about things he presides over, of course. I liked the bright, fairy-taleish art in a lot of this volume, and I especially liked that old threads were, once again, picked up and woven back in. The Sandman does this quite a lot, and I like it -- no character is wasted.

The end of this was really nice, but I was so sad that Wanda died. Barbie is a nice character, though: I liked the facepaint designs. Thessaly is an interesting character, I wonder if she'll turn up again. Based on the trend so far, I'm going to go with yes.

A little sad that all we saw of Death was a tiny glimpse, but then, we only saw the tiniest amount of Dream, so his big sister shouldn't upstage him.
wilderthan: ((Garnet) On my own)
Season of Mists is one single plotline throughout the volume without any real digressions. Enchanting as those tales can be, this is a really interesting volume. It picks up the tale of Nada, partially, which is again a thread from a previous volume woven into the main story. The part where Dream visits Hippolyta and tells her the baby is called Daniel is interesting, too, I can't wait to see where that's going.

The most interesting thing about this volume, for me, was meeting six of the seven Endless. I'm curious about the missing one. Delirium is a really interesting character. My fondest feelings are still for Death, though. Dream is sometimes quite difficult to sympathise with, given what he does to Nada -- it's good to see him making some reparations for that.

The other interesting thing was the stuff about the two angels becoming the rulers of Hell. It says really interesting things about people needing to be punished, and how things can be twisted.
wilderthan: ((FFVIII) Promise)
Dream Country is an interlude between bits of ongoing plot, I'm told. You can actually read it without reading the other stuff, as long as you have some basic idea about what the Endless are. There are four stories: one about a captured Greek muse, one about cats and dreaming, one about Shakespeare, and finally one in which Death stars instead of Morpheus, and helps a metamorph to die.

They're interesting little stories: Calliope is my favourite. The cat one is interesting, cats dream too and they see Morpheus as a cat... The idea of Morpheus making a deal with William Shakespeare was brought up in an earlier volume and it's followed through on here. And finally, a story about Death... it's interesting because the main character is an interesting idea, and doubly interesting because Death is rapidly becoming my favourite character, despite her few appearances.


wilderthan: (Default)

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