Rants and Reviews

Hot and Wuthered

Wuthering Heights is a gothic romance that stirs controversy as intense as Cathy and Heathcliff’s passion. Or so I spent almost thirty years believing. Then I sat down and actually read the damn thing.

‘It’s not really a romance!’ isn’t a fresh take, but it’s still shocking to see how utterly the pop culture narrative around the text has been distorted. The book might be a capital R Romantic novel but it isn’t a romance. Unlike the self-possessed Jane and moping Rochester from sister Charlotte’s magnum opus, Cathy and Heathcliff are fucking assholes and the only reason you want Cathy and Heathcliff together is so they’ll stop inflicting themselves on everyone around them. And then Cathy dies like halfway through the book and Heathcliff spends the next twenty years emotionally and physically abusing everyone around him including his wife, assorted children, and a puppy just for the hell of it. And he does it, not out of Rochester’s weakness and hypocrisy, but out of a clear-eyed determination to be an absolute fuckhead.

The Hark, A Vagrant strips aren’t comedic exaggeration, they’re just literally what happens in the book.

There’s a lot of good analysis out there about how people have confused romantic and Romantic, and about how something that would have been deemed ‘gothic horror’ when written by a man gets turned into a ‘love story’ when written by a woman, and how distilled and Hollywoodized movies have compounded the misconception. But some people have presumably actually read the book – hell, it’s required English lit in many schools – and I can’t FATHOM how anyone with a few braincells to rub together could read it and be like ‘awww, rootin’ for those kids! #relationshipgoals’

It almost makes you want to create an entire website dedicated to the notion of debunking this story as anything but a fucking nightmare. 

Jane Austen was certainly no fluffy bunny, but lumping this in the same category as her smart, charming, and equitable romances is like calling Cormac McCarthy family-friendly. The dead babies beg to differ. 

Rants and Reviews

Return of the Return of the Obra Dinn

A topical post about a game that’s been out for almost a year! But I’ve got the desperate urge to play it again and despite how fucking excellent this game is, the replay value is basically nil and I’m sad about it. I’ve also got the desperate urge to make more people play it (there’s only one fic on AO3 and that’s a goddamn tragedy).

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This is an amazing game for people who don’t play many games (I know because I am one of them) – and it’s one where watching an LP can’t really replicate the experience of piecing the story together for yourself. If you love The Terror and internet speculation on the cascading mistakes that led to the Franklin Expedition’s awful fate then buddy, have I got a game for you .

Continue reading “Return of the Return of the Obra Dinn”

Adventures, Rants and Reviews

Hellier: Here be Gerblins

We watched Hellier for research purposes while sequestered at Emily Tesh’s writing retreat and it certainly was a show that we watched.

To quote the IMDB page:

A small crew of paranormal researchers find themselves in a dying coal town, where a series of strange coincidences leads them to a decades-old mystery with far-reaching implications.

While the documentary does follow a team of paranormal researchers to a dying coal town, the rest of the description is complete and total bullshit. What actually happens is:

  • A researcher receives some emails from a guy claiming gerblins are dicking around his house somewhere around the Appalachian town of Hellier. They’re all peering in his windows and stealing his children’s toys and he has some blurry pictures as proof. One shows some three-toed footprints, one shows an apparently incredibly suggestive white blur. Could be a snowy owl, could be some grease on the lens, OR it would be the bald dome of an extraterrestrial goblin man. Equal odds.
  • The crew go into excruciating detail on how they all know each other and their relevant paranormal qualifications.
  • They go to Hellier and conclude that the locals not being very interested in talking to them or having many tales of the paranormal to share is proof that there is something extra paranormal happening.
  • They sit on a porch, do what’s essentially advanced Ouija, and yell at some bushes that might have a coyote or something in.
  • They go to an abandoned mine and see a tin can. For extremely convoluted reasons, they conclude the tin can is literally or metaphorically an alien.
  • Mission….accomplished…..?

Did we mention that this takes six hour-long episodes to cover? It’s not clear who the bigger saps are, the ones who take incredibly expensive video gear into an abandoned train tunnel to shout at bats for four hours about high strangeness and Indrid Cold (who might be an alien, might be a black man, might be both, this isn’t even something they made up, this is actual paranormal lore) or us, for watching six hours of it.

Just kidding, it’s definitely them.

Four grown adults with video editing skills go deep into the heart of Appalachia, where communities have been rocked by decades of poverty, addiction, and the brutal economy of mining, bother the locals, and their takeaway is ‘okay, the goblins definitely could have used the cave systems to get between Kentucky and Ohio. Also the Mothman Prophecies said that sometimes Indrid Cold appears as a tin can.’

We never see any goblins.

The thing they heard in the train tunnel was definitely a bat.

And we’re absolutely watching Season 2 when it comes out in November.

Adventures

One month: In summary

The past month has been a ride, my friends. Let’s take stock.

August 14: We reunited in London and met six to twelve pigeons and a cat. We also ate our way through the Borrough Market, saw Gwendoline Christie at the Bridge Theatre, and went swimming on Hampstead Heath.

August 16: We went to Dublin WorldCon. We mingled! We malingered! One of us developed a month-long cough! Read all about it.

August 18: Our amazing friend and colleague Emily Tesh hosted a writers retreat in Donegal for a group of new and emerging authors. We watched a documentary on goblins, rode horses into the sea, and met every dog in Northern Ireland.

August 23: We developed the concept and outline for our next book. Peer pressure is amazing in that being surrounded by seven other writers makes you feel the need to be productive or else you might die. Goblin documentaries are also very inspiring. Stay tuned for more about Long Trail!

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August 28: One of us now has a byline doing environmental journalism!

September 9: The other of us is in the midst of a Kickstarter to print her webcomic!

September 14: And, best of all, we are out on submission with The Fairy Dealer.

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Reader, we could not be more excited.

Happy September!

Adventures

WorldCon Roundup

Dublin WorldCon was our first outing as professional literary type people, which means careful conduct i.e., giving business cards to friends who already knew our contact details and skipping the Hugo awards to watch season 2 of Derry Girls in our Airbnb. It was also the first time either of us had been to a con, which is probably appropriate since WorldCon splits the difference between the two.

WorldCon is half an industry event full of networking opportunities, and half a locus of fannishness full of cosplay and opportunities to buy merch. Navigating the two is a slippery proposition and getting the most out of the week definitely takes skill, careful planning, and a knowledge of your personal limit for how many panels you can sit through in a row. You also need cool friends you can meet for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and drinks or you are going to burn out and die very quickly.

Through a level of planning that exceeded the Franklin expedition, we came away with a list of book recs, a chart-topping fairy song (It goes ‘Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday’ and it is a bop), and an amazingly comprehensive rundown on how not to write a romance. And no lead poisoning.

We also came away with the outline for our next book, but that’s a whole other post.

But the really good thing about going to WorldCon is that afterwards, you can go hang out at Emily Tesh’s country estate with cool, like-minded people and be really glad you aren’t there anymore.

And that too, is a post for another day.

making sausage

On the tragedy of completion

No, this will not be about ‘the little death.’ Though actually, that’s not a bad way to describe it.

I feel like every writer has reached that point where they would give anything to be done with a certain project/draft/manuscript. The finish line is the goal! Having that final word count! Crossing off that final to do! Sending it off to betas or agents or publishers, or even just hitting post. It’s someone else’s problem now, baby.

But what comes after that? Naturally there’s the relief, the celebration, the smugness, the need to tweet gloatingly about it, but there’s also a special kind of emptiness that comes with it.

Continue reading “On the tragedy of completion”