incandescens: (Kanzeon Bosatsu)
So today, a short piece I've written went up on the Tor UK blog. It's a little something that combines Edward Gorey's The Gashlycrumb Tinies with clinical coding, and just a bit of paranoia.

http://www.torbooks.co.uk/blog/2015/10/7/d7v9hld1f1yjfhalcgecihweehg2al

Other than that... three days till holiday. Fortunately (if that's the word) work is quite busy enough to keep me focused. Probably a good thing.
incandescens: (Default)
On the whole . . . I think I will not be doing Yaoi-con this year. (And be fair. I have been attending it for several years now.) Possibly next year I will feel differently.

Also, I need more energy. And brains. And time. And everything else. Where are diabolical contracts when you really want them?

---

branes, sai molesworth two.

this is the sad tale of how st custards hold out against marauding zombie horde. many noble skoolboys (and some masters too) die in heroic defense of halowd skool, etcetera. my own brother molesworth two has becom zombie and now wanders around skool grounds looking for branes.

this is because he never had any himself, i tell peason.

peason, who is still my grate frend even tho the zombies have eaten his nose, sai no, it is because he has been infected by evil zombie virus. (they sai on internet that zombie virus has been invented in america because that is where they make zombies and superheroes, but they also sai on internet that little ponies will save the world, so boo chiz to internet.)

you must end his suffering, peason sai.

i would, i sai, but i do not have a shotgun.

at this point fotherington-tomas enter. hello clouds hello sky hello zombies, sai fotherington-tomas. then he pull out boomstik.

can i borrow your boomstik, i sai.

molesworth, sai fotherington-tomas, i greve for your pane, but all bulets must be rationed and molesworth two is only one zombie. also you kno that i have sworn to save the last bulet for myself.

fotherington-tomas is still utterly weedy and wet. any real man kno that kattannas are beter against zombies anyhow. grabber win mrs joyful prize for rafia work and zombie decapitashun using a kattanna in both each hand.

then grimes enter baring kane. all boys to me, he cri. the zombies have breached the mane gate...

-- Skool of the Dead, definitely not by Willans and Searle, though with all due homage to them
incandescens: (Default)
Very good piece here by Diane Duane about a certain genre of Sherlock fanfic, and writing for it.

[livejournal.com profile] flemmings, I am strongly reminded of an earlier piece of yours on Aestheticism. She even brings up (and shoots down) the good old lie/lay. And the "the adjective man" referencing method. :)
incandescens: (Default)
I got distracted this evening looking at the Ghosts and Scholars website, the homepage for an MR James newsletter. There's an attached index of stories and articles, and some of them are actually linked to the webpage. While they vary in style and elegance (and possibly quality), I'm noting a couple here that I particularly liked.

The Lady of the Flowers, by Steve Duffy -- if you've ever read the Mabinogion, then you'll know what references to owls and flowers together in Wales might be linked to.

What Goes Down, by Don Tumasonis -- I've read another story of his in a different compilation, The Prospect Cards, and this one is also very good, though more Jamesian. Not exactly supernatural in the ghostly way, but a definite sense of . . . one should not break the rules or look behind the closed door.

Also this article about the Black Pilgrimage to Chorazin - interesting. Useful.
incandescens: (Default)
Oh, I quite forgot. I ran across this interesting historical narrative today, while checking up on food poisoning. (You know how it is. You follow one link, and then you see an interesting link going off it, so you follow that, and next thing you know, you're wanting to tell everyone about peppermint humbug poisoning and where the Poisons Register comes from in golden age crime fiction.)

The 1858 Bradford sweets poisoning was the accidental arsenic poisoning of more than 200 people in Bradford, England in 1858; an estimated 20 people died when sweets accidentally made with arsenic were sold from a market stall. The event contributed to the passage of the Pharmacy Act 1868 in the United Kingdom and legislation regulating the adulteration of foodstuffs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1858_Bradford_sweets_poisoning

William Hardaker, known to locals as "Humbug Billy", sold sweets from a stall in the Green Market in central Bradford (now the site of Bradford's Arndale Centre, named Kirkgate Market). Hardaker purchased his supplies from Joseph Neal, who made the sweets (or "lozenges") on Stone Street a few hundred yards to the north. The lozenges in question were peppermint humbugs, made of peppermint oil incorporated into a base of – in theory – sugar and gum. However, sugar was expensive and so Neal would substitute a cheaper, inert substance known as "daft" for the sugar. The adulteration of foodstuffs with "daft" was common practice at the time. Ian Jones reports that "the precise identity of "daft" was variable: plaster of Paris, powdered limestone, and sulphate of lime had been reported."

On the occasion in question, Neal sent the lodger who lived at his house – James Archer – to collect daft for Hardaker's humbugs from druggist Charles Hodgson, whose pharmacy was located at Baildon Bridge in Shipley. Hodgson was at his pharmacy, but did not serve Archer owing to illness and so his requests were seen to by William Goddard. He went to Hodgson as he was unclear on where the "daft" was to be found, and was told that it was in a cask in one corner of the cellar. However, rather than "daft", Goddard sold Archer 12 pounds of arsenic trioxide.

The mistake remained undetected even during manufacture of the sweets by James Appleton, an "experienced sweetmaker" employed by Neal, though Appleton did observe that the finished product looked different from the usual humbugs; reportedly, he was suffering symptoms of illness during the sweet-making process. Reportedly, Appleton mixed the 12 lb of arsenic with 40 lb of sugar and 4 lb of gum to make the sweets. Forty pounds of lozenges were sold to Hardaker who also noticed the sweets looked unusual and used this to obtain a discount from Neal. Like Appleton, Hardaker, as one of the first to taste the sweets, also promptly became ill.

Regardless, Hardaker sold 5 lb of the sweets from his market stall that night – reportedly at a price of three halfpence for two ounces. Of those who purchased and ate the sweets, around 20 people died with a further 200 or so becoming severely ill with arsenic poisoning within a day or so.



One hopes that this wouldn't happen in the Lord Alchemist universe, [livejournal.com profile] archangelbeth . . .
incandescens: (Default)
In response to the I Surrender meme from [livejournal.com profile] sophiap at http://sophiap.livejournal.com/205692.html:

A police procedural/mystery series where one of the main characters is in fact a fallen or rebel angel.

. . . given my tastes, the fallen/rebel angel shifted right to the forefront, and I was more inclined to mystery than to police procedural. I also had references to Kenneth Hite's Bookhounds of London (I need a copy of that, dammit) at the back of my mind. Which resulted in the following series:


CONTRACTS

The Contracts Group is officially a business that locates/purchases rare books for collectors, but also works for libraries and museums, and occasionally assists the police with relevant information. What few people know is that the head of the firm is a fallen angel with an interest in breaking other people's contracts with Hell, and that other 'underworld types' are also operating in the area . . .

This series is theoretically set in London, but should involve plenty of location filming in museums and libraries elsewhere. The cast are technically not all currently available, but I can dream.


Cast:
Joanna Lumley – head of firm
Benedict Cumberbatch – secretary/researcher
Patterson Joseph - Field agent
Sarah Sutton - Field agent
Roger Delgado – senior representative of Hell
Peter Davison and Kirsten Vangsness - junior representative of Hell
Christopher Eccleston - police inspector and usual contact with firm


Cast Notes:

Joanna Lumley – head of firm: actually rebel angel who cut loose from Lucifer on deciding that they’d all been lied to, but refuses to repent. Spends her time locating people who’ve signed contracts with Hell and trying to find flaws in the contracts to convince them or enable them to break the contracts. Doesn’t particularly care about people for their own sake, but holds strong opinions on the nature of free will and making choices without deception. Avoids actually telling a lie (this may become a plot point later). Possesses some supernatural abilities as the plot demands, though is reluctant to use them.

Benedict Cumberbatch – firm secretary and internet researcher. Has habit of online gaming while doing research at work. Takes work home. Online gaming buddy of the demonic Minion (Davison/Vangsness), though neither realizes this.

Paterson Joseph – field agent for the firm. Aware of Lumley’s real nature. Considers himself cynical and jaded, but is in fact very enthusiastic about the romance of saving souls from Hell. In for a nasty awakening one of these days. A drinking buddy of Eccleston, and the reason the firm has its links to the police. Particular expert in ecclesiastical manuscripts.

Sarah Sutton – field agent for the firm. Obsessive about her job and her books, possibly even mildly autistic. Habitually walks past dramatic weirdness but notes tiny details. Regularly annoys Eccleston’s character by failing to notice relevant details. Specialist in minutiae. Has occasional moments of “lost time” which she does not remember afterwards, during which she takes some particular action or says something relevant but unexpected: later hints that she is in fact being possessed during those moments. As yet unclear who or what is doing the possessing.

Christopher Eccleston – police inspector who usually ends up calling on firm for their expertise. Up-and-coming type, very down to earth, absolutely no belief in the supernatural but willing to believe that humanity can manage any perversion on its own without help. Views the firm as just another asset to use in unusual cases where they have specific knowledge. Delgado has been seen requesting his file.

Roger Delgado – senior local representative of Hell. Involved in a lot of Old Boys networks. Old-time friend of Lumley’s character and wants to coax her back to Hell, or at least be the one to force her to return/claim the credit for her return. Should be played as a nice guy but willing to back all sorts of evil with absolutely no hesitation. Views attempts to stop him as “all part of the game”. Is aware of the Minion’s attempt to depose him but considers this perfectly natural.

The Minion – played jointly by Peter Davison and Kirsten Vangsness. This junior representative of Hell is a subordinate of Delgado but is looking for an opportunity to disgrace him or steal credit from him. Clearly has no preferred gender but is happy in either body (i.e. as either actor). Lacks the authority to give the Follower orders unless Delgado gives it to him/her, and is very nervous on the occasion/s that this happens. There may be an implication that the Minion can take other shapes as well, besides the ones that we see. Plays online games with Cumberbatch’s character, though neither realizes the other’s true identity: both have tried to find out and failed.

The Follower – a diabolical agent of some sort that Delgado’s character can call on. He is always seen contacting it by phone. It shows up in order to kill people, usually messily. We never get a good view of it, just noises, and the reactions of people who turn around and see it.


Series Notes:

Series structure would involve increased involvement in the supernatural side of things, but absolutely no angelic involvement (unless Sutton's character is somehow linked to that - possibly for the next season of the show, if it gets continued?) Some episodes would be non-supernatural in their resolution, though the faked supernatural might be an issue. Delgado's character has some sort of behind-the-scenes plan, but it is unspecified.

Oh all right, so I'm somewhat prone to "throw all the characters together and see what happens". Come on. Give me some ideas. I dare you.
incandescens: (Default)
Invent a memory of me and post it in the comments. It can be anything you want, so long as it's something that's never happened. Then, of course, post this to your journal and see what people would like to remember of you, only the universe failed to cooperate in making it happen so they had to make it up instead.

(taken from daegaer)
incandescens: (snake)
One more dragon down, that much less of the book to go.

Did a pile of ironing today, as one of the external examiners from the university where my father works is coming to supper tomorrow, and it would be inappropriate for me to be doing it at that point. Why is it that tshirts seem to need twice the work to iron that winter-weight tops do? (Sensible answers such as "because you favour loose baggy tshirts but more moderately cut tops" will be sniffed at.)

Ah. Now this I want to be able to do in writing, if it's possible to do in writing. It's from a discussion of Dreyer's film Vampyr, made in 1931, a black-and-white film which is by all accounts a classic, if incredibly hard to get to see, and very surreal. This is from Dreyer himself, outlining his approach to the story.

"Imagine that we are sitting in an ordinary room. Suddenly, we are told that there is a corpse behind the door. In an instant, the room we are sitting in is completely altered; everything in it has taken on another look; the light, the atmosphere have changed, though they are physically the same. This is because we have changed, and the objects are as we conceive them. That is the effect I want to get in my film."

That's what I'd like to get in my writing, too.

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