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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn

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So for various boring, assorted reasons I won't go into, Blacksad has recently been obsessing me, to the point where I've spent the last ...week or so analysing it. Blacksad is a spanish comic, detective noir, in which the characters are drawn as animals, and it's brilliant. My critique is my effort to understand why; where it works (and doesn't).

However, I doubt anyone else will be much interested, so here's some spiffy links—a 10 minute CGI short that, as the Mary Sue notes, will get you right in the feels. Yeah, I want the full length version too.

The other is this absolutely superb story about memory, and its malleability. I have always had a crappy memory—one reason I make this blog, an artificial extension. If you're wondering what a hugo-worthy short looks like, well, Ted Chiang's The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling would be an excellent example.



So the rabid puppies dominate the short fiction nominations for the hugos; one exception being this brilliant story by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. It's Dutch, which I thought, cool, and Hugo-worthy, I was assured.

And in terms of construction, it is. In fact, in a lot of ways, it could be said to be a companion piece to that bugaboo of the puppies, Rachel Swirsky's “If you were a dinosaur, my love” (which did not win the hugo, last year, but a nebula; that is her fellow sff authors handed her the prize.) Like Dino, “The day the world turned upside down” is about a heartbroken person who's lost his love; even the internal structure is similar.

But I can't vote for it. (Spoilers, obviously.)



Ooooh, more controversy:)

Via pharyngula, a post by scicurious, about favorite versus ‘good’ books. I know exactly how she feels. Being smarter and more disciplined than I am, she banged her head against this wall far longer than I have; I couldn't stand the amoral people in Vanity Fair, and gave it up. The biggest thrill of Tess of the d'Ubervilles (besides the admittedly fascinating bits about dairying—being a milkmaid was hard work!) was recognizing the basis for some Harry Potter characters (Voldie's folks, for those of you who are curious). I did manage Willa Cather and T.S. Eliot (I think?) and they were ok.



So the latest kerfluffle taking place in the (book) sf&f world is the effort of a bunch of USA right-wing sore-losers calling themselves the sad (or rabid) puppies, who managed to stuff the ballot box during the hugo nominations. To the tune of providing nearly 70% of the slate. Because their efforts last year (which involved them being voted below ‘No award’) were so successful.

SF has two major awards, the nebulas (selected by pros, like the Oscars) and the hugos (named for Hugo Gernsback, whose 1920s mag sort of started the genre) which can be nominated by—and voted upon—anyone with a WorldCon (the biggest sf&f convention) membership. In order to open the process to poorer fans, the committee created a (non-attending) category for $40.



All is not doom and gloom on the rejiquar front! (Although posting may sink back into apathy if instagram starts working properly again, plus I have a deadline and so will need to actually get back to making art, as opposed to merely posting it.) I promised an update on Aiden Meehan's celtic interlace, so here ’tis!

In the 17Mar post I promised an update on the Meehan omnibus volume Celtic Design, 2007, which comprises the Beginner's Manual, Knotwork and Illuminated Letters. The library didn't have the last volume, but I got Celtic Alphabets and his Spirals volumes in lieu.

The short answer: if you're wanting just one book on how to do celtic art, then I stand by my original suggestion, and here's why:

Celtic interlace, at least for me (& I suspect for many other folks) can be learnt in a very linear fashion: beginning at the beginning, with simple exercises, and keep practicing. Meehan breaks the steps down in pretty easy chunks, and for those of you for whom even that's too tedious, tends to include lots of examples, grouped by sub-style, that copying makes for an excellent learning process.



My energy levels have been kind of low, probably because I'm fighting off whatever upper respiratory tract infection that's laid f2tY low; so I've been doing more reading. I heard about Francesca Haig's The Fire Sermon (which I immediately nicknamed Omega in my head owing to the striking cover design) via [someplace or other, evidently not Whatever] & decided to check it out.

There's a lot to like about this book. I was immediately entranced by the setup: in a post-apocalyptic world, everyone is born twins, perfect alphas to always-disabled omegas. Omegas typically are missing something—an arm, a leg; or they have too many arms or eyes—or visions. Seers, visibly indistinguishable from alphas, see visions—of the blast that destroyed their world; glimpses of the future, sensations of others nearby—but are still considered omegas.


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