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brigdh: (I'll say it to his face. Swear to god.)
Spoilers, duh )

So, in general, I'm kind of annoyed at the whole show. I never thought of Merlin as great entertainment, but now it's not even amusingly bad. It's just bad. Although I have been re-watching Buffy (my girlfriend has never seen it!) and in comparison it makes most things on TV right now look pretty fucking bad. We just finished the first season, and oh, you guys, I forgot how much I loved this show. It is so good.
brigdh: (We are from Europe)
[livejournal.com profile] imaginarybeasts is "a bi-monthly webzine dedicated to original fiction of the oneshot variety". Anyone may participate, whether you would like to write, make visual art, volunteer to help with beta'ing, or, most importantly, read and review the stories. Etc, etc, here's the tag for previous reviews.

Each edition, or "book", has a theme; August's (almost caught up!) was "Rouges and Scoundrels". My favorite stories and art:

Cheap Lives by [livejournal.com profile] artillie. Two hitmen (well, a hitman and hitwoman) take a job that involves protecting a former enemy. This story is amazingly well-written, managing to be both funny and dramatic. The characters are engaging and I would totally read more about them. All, characters of color!

Reprisal by [livejournal.com profile] peskywhistpaw. It's hard to describe this story, because it's not what it seems to be. But I loved it! And so if you trust my recommendation, read this.

Beat by pei yi. This reads like the first chapter to an awesome new fantasy novel, one that I would totally buy. Set in a vaguely Vietnamese-influenced world, two street kids take on a job that proves to be more than they bargined for.

You can read all of the stories and see the art here.
brigdh: (the city)
[livejournal.com profile] imaginarybeasts is "a bi-monthly webzine dedicated to original fiction of the oneshot variety". Anyone may participate, whether you would like to write, make visual art, volunteer to help with beta'ing, or, most importantly, read and review the stories. Etc, etc, here's the tag for previous reviews.

Each edition, or "book", has a theme; June's (I swear I will catch up someday!) was "Cities". My favorite stories and art:

Smaller Than the Blink of an Eye by hacy morris. The story of what happens after Sleeping Beauty wakes up. I really love this twist on the fairy tale.

Gloves by [livejournal.com profile] ladyofthelog. A dark, ambiguous story about abilities and what they cost. Awesome world-building.

City of Light by atalan. An adventure in a dystopic, crowded city consisting of levels upon levels of structures, far below any light or fresh air. This story is really well-written, with excellent characters and a great plot.

You can read all of the stories and see the art here.
brigdh: (shake the mountains when they dance)
[livejournal.com profile] imaginarybeasts is "a bi-monthly webzine dedicated to original fiction of the oneshot variety". Anyone may participate, whether you would like to write, make visual art, volunteer to help with beta'ing, or, most importantly, read and review the stories. Etc, etc, here's the tag for previous reviews.

Each edition, or "book", has a theme; March's was "Carnivale". My favorite stories and art:

Zoetrope by [livejournal.com profile] childofatlantis. An interesting twist of a story, about masks and festivals and change. Really well done.

Il Carnevale by [livejournal.com profile] nekokoban. You don't normally think of carnivale stories as scary, but oh, this one is deliciously creepy, with the logic of punishment of a fairy tale. Awesome.

Frozen Violet by [livejournal.com profile] kessie. A longer story than most in [livejournal.com profile] imaginarybeasts, but worth it. Another creepy story (what is it with all the horror in this book?) about death and obsession.

People Who Love to Tell Lies by [livejournal.com profile] xahra99. Set in ancient Rome on the Saturnalia, about slaves tricking their masters, with the most awesome food porn ever. Terrifically fun!

Maskarah by [livejournal.com profile] grendelity. A gorgeous, creepy art piece. Is it a mask? It is a monster? I love it, either way.

You can read all of the stories and see the art here. The next book's theme will be "Winter", and you can sign up to participate here, until the ninth of November.
brigdh: (holier than thou)
[livejournal.com profile] imaginarybeasts is "a bi-monthly webzine dedicated to original fiction of the oneshot variety". Anyone may participate, whether you would like to write, make visual art, volunteer to help with beta'ing, or, most importantly, read and review the stories. Etc, etc, here's the tag for previous reviews.

Each edition, or "book", has a theme; February's (I am so far behind, Jesus Christ) was "Erase/Rewind", which basically means 'free for all'. Writers and artists were free to use any of the previous themes. I have a lot of recs for this review, but the quality was really particularly high this time. My favorite stories:

Citydust by [livejournal.com profile] overrule. About the life of a city, the birth and death of a city, and how to love a city. Short but vivid.

That Beautiful Apple by [livejournal.com profile] scratchmist. A retelling of a well-known myth, but it would be cheating to tell you which one before you've read it. Or not a retelling, a sequel, a second chance for the people involved. Simple, but so well-done.

[ctrl]+[alt]+[del] by [livejournal.com profile] rei_kurasaki. A cyberpunk story, set in a Terminator/Matrix -esque world, but more brutal than either of those movies. Plus, gay boys!

The Cobbler's Son by [livejournal.com profile] phoenixgold. This is obviously using the language and tropes of fairy tales, but it's like the anti-fairy tale. By which I mean not that it's sad or aggressive, but it's just an entirely other thing than stories of heroes and monsters and destiny and treasure. A wonderful little tale.

The Assassin's School for Girls by [livejournal.com profile] hazard_us. Now this one is a fairy tale, but it's like what would happen if Edward Gorey wrote a fairy tale. Detailed, precise, and fun.

The Greatest Bluesman by [livejournal.com profile] thanatophilia. This story is far and away the "if you only read one, read this one" of the issue. In fact, I think it might be the "if you only read one, read this one" of the entire [livejournal.com profile] imaginarybeasts archive. I'll repeat that one more time: read this one. This is amazing. It reads like a song, with the perfect rolling rhythm of its Louisiana setting. Death, the devil, and souls sold for musical ability, and even though I know you've heard that story before, it's still new this time. Here's the first paragraph:

Catherine Mary Saint Croix done eat her baby. Done eat her baby and start singing so sweet. Townsfolk call her a witch (which means knowledge and just imagine what horrors of horrors she knows). Townsfolk say she sold her soul. Townsfolk run her out of town and they don't wanna hear from her no more.

It's so good, I cannot tell you.

You can read all of the stories and see the art here.
brigdh: (it is a sin to be rude to a book)
[livejournal.com profile] imaginarybeasts is "a bi-monthly webzine dedicated to original fiction of the oneshot variety". Anyone may participate, whether you would like to write, make visual art, volunteer to help with beta'ing, or, most importantly, read and review the stories. Etc, etc, here's the tag for previous reviews.

Each edition, or "book", has a theme; December's (I'm catching up!) was "Mythology". My favorites:

The Flight of the Keen by [livejournal.com profile] edincoat - An adorably fun, sweet story about school kids summoning a god. This story is just sparkly. It's fantastic.

The Catbird Seat by [livejournal.com profile] hazard_us. Oh my goodess! Tricksters! Being tricky! This story is devious and I love it.

Hopefall by [livejournal.com profile] nekokoban. A retelling of- well, that would be to give away the twist. But it's worth it, believe me. This is a really interesting take on a well-known myth.

Venom by [livejournal.com profile] scratchmist. A retelling of parts of Norse mythology from the perspective of Sigyn. This is dark, and bitter, but oh so good.

i sing of the battle of gods by e. This story mixes a ton of different pantheons, playing on parallels between gods and myths, and really makes it work. I also love the sarcastic voice the gods have in this.

You can read all of the stories and see the art here. The next book's theme is "Cities", and there is still a little while left to sign up for it here.
brigdh: (pour burning from the cups of poppies)
[livejournal.com profile] imaginarybeasts is "a bi-monthly webzine dedicated to original fiction of the oneshot variety". Anyone may participate, whether you would like to write, make visual art, volunteer to help with beta'ing, or, most importantly, read and review the stories. Right, whatever, here's the tag for previous reviews.

Each edition, or "book", has a theme; September's was "School Stories". Now, I have to say that this is not a theme to which I'm particularly attracted, which is probably why I didn't get around to reading it until now. But this is one of the best editions I can remember. I liked every single one of the stories, and some of them were really exceptional. My favorites:

Making Friends by hacy morris. A simple story about two boys, but the setting is subtle and other; a slightly off hint to everything, which starts with a lunch box full of small, black spiders. I enjoyed this; it was sweeter than it seemed. Or maybe darker. I don't know, but I liked it.

Girl in the War by [livejournal.com profile] xskadi, with art by [livejournal.com profile] llyse. How to describe this? A high school girl starts to see ghosts, and gets caught up in a team that fights them. And yet. Nothing's quite what it seems, and everything's a little bit sharper than you expect. Also: heart-breaking ending.

Warm Where You Are by gyoku. A perfectly normal story about two high school boys, but this is subtle and lovely. I adore the bitterness in one family and the affection in the other, both done so simply it feels like a pencil sketch.

Fake Glass Skies by [livejournal.com profile] rei_kurasaki. A story about a kappa, but not a fairy tale. Or rather, it is like a fairy tale, but the old ones with fangs. Gorgeous, slow imagery and language.

Hmmm, I'm really liking the creepy today. You wouldn't guess "school stories" would lend themselves to that so much. All of the stories are great, and the cover is adorable; you can see the rest here. The next book's theme is "Mythology", and will be out next week. (I managed to get this review in just under the deadline!)
brigdh: (books)
[livejournal.com profile] imaginarybeasts is "a bi-monthly webzine dedicated to original fiction of the oneshot variety". Anyone may participate, whether you would like to write, make visual art, volunteer to help with beta'ing, or, most importantly, read and review the stories. Y'all probably know this; if you're interested in reading my reviews of earlier books, here's the tag.

Each edition, or "book", has a theme; August's was "Travel"*. My favorites:

To The Lakeside by hacy morris. A sequel- in a way- of the story of The Seven Swans, this is a lovely piece of writing that provides for what was left unfinished in the original fairy-tale.

Lives That Are Buried By The Earth by [livejournal.com profile] misao_kunoichi. This story is- vaguely, sort of, maybe- a retelling and extension of the Snow Queen. I wonder what about a 'travel' theme lends itself to fairy tales? But this is really interesting, and I love the places it goes, and the writing is very pretty all the way.

untitled by [livejournal.com profile] januaryseas. A creepy, gorgeous picture.

A Thousand Miles Behind Us by [livejournal.com profile] rakugaking. And the antidote to the previous one: a quiet, happy picture. I adore this one.


You can read all of the stories and see all of the art here. The next book will be 'Mythology', and it's coming out at the end of the month.

* ARGGHH WHY DID THEY DO TRAVEL WHILE I WAS IN SYRIA? I WAS TOTALLY THE ONE WHO SUGGESTED THE THEME AND I HAD A STORY ALL PLANNED OUT AND EVERYTHING AND I WAS ACTUALLY GOING TO PARTICIPATE THIS TIME DUUUUUUDES. *ahem* I mean, uh, I am sad to have missed this one.
brigdh: (like a living painting when he moves)
[livejournal.com profile] imaginarybeasts is "a bi-monthly webzine dedicated to original fiction of the oneshot variety". Anyone may participate, whether you would like to write, make visual art, volunteer to help with beta'ing, or, most importantly, read and review the stories. Blah, blah, you all probably remember this from yesterday.

Each edition, or "book", has a theme; May's was "Steampunk". My favorites:

Your Woman by [livejournal.com profile] shinju_yuri. Another Walter and Frederick story, who I adore, but this is a lovely little piece even if you haven't read anything else about them. A story about robots, really, and the people who make them, with a killer last line.

The Grace Affair by [livejournal.com profile] iseepurplehair. My favorite story of this issue. About a naive inventor and a country at war, and you probably already know where this story goes. And it does go exactly there, but it's well-written, so it makes the expected seem like the archetypes of mythology, that inevitable fall from grace. Excellent.

Lady by [livejournal.com profile] rakugaking. A gorgeous piece of art, full of little details, but still being stark and vivid. So pretty.

You can read all of the stories and see all of the art here, though it's a short issue this time. Another reminder: the next theme will be School Stories, and you can sign up here (post locked to community members). You have until September 7th to submit a story.
brigdh: (we will be astonishing-As-ever)
[livejournal.com profile] imaginarybeasts is "a bi-monthly webzine dedicated to original fiction of the oneshot variety". Anyone may participate, whether you would like to write, make visual art, volunteer to help with beta'ing, or, most importantly, read and review the stories. The authors and artists need love, people. Ahem. I like to review the issues, as y'all have probably picked up on by now, but I'm pretty behind, due to Syria plus the busyness before it. So we're starting off with the oldest one I haven't yet read.

Each edition, or "book", has a theme; March's was "Gendertwist". My favorites:

Cirocco by [livejournal.com profile] thanatophilia. Crazy apocalyptic sci-fi gendertwisted Casablanca. What's not to love? Also, the main character is a bitter cross-dressing prostitute. A+++++++

The Second Storey Men by [livejournal.com profile] xahra99. It's about Victorian era house burglars! What more do you need?

Laid the Unsprung Trap with Bait by [livejournal.com profile] nekokoban. I like stories about conmen, okay? Especially when they're funny and smart and in a little over their heads.

The Shore's Gift by [livejournal.com profile] inshore. An incredibly gorgeous, textured piece of art. I kind of want to print this off and hang it on my wall.

You can read all of the stories and see all of the art here. The next theme will be School Stories, and you can sign up here (post locked to community members). You have until September 7th to submit a story.
brigdh: (everyday in heaven)
[livejournal.com profile] imaginarybeasts is "a bi-monthly webzine dedicated to original fiction of the oneshot variety". Anyone may participate, whether you would like to write, make visual art, volunteer to help with beta'ing, or, most importantly, read and review the stories. The authors and artists need love, people.

Each edition, or "book", has a theme; February's was a special double theme of "Science" and "Magic". My favorites:

Take Wing on Sundays by [livejournal.com profile] loika. A gorgeous piece of art. I love the slick style of this, but even more so all the details of the world implied in it. Gorgeous.

The World Is No Longer Green by [livejournal.com profile] rei_kurasaki. A really fascinating piece about forest spirits in a world that doesn't believe in them. So much sharper by the end than I thought at the beginning.

At Times, Science Can Seem Like Magic by [livejournal.com profile] redplasticglass and [livejournal.com profile] vonbrigthi. Another art piece! What can I say, they were really excellent this time. This piece just makes me want to stare and stare at it, to see all the details. An absolutely brilliant melding of the two themes.

The Tale of Colonel Blackheart and the Voodoo Zombie Tigers by [livejournal.com profile] xahra99. Hee! I do adore people who can write humor well. This is such a spot-on parody of all the action cartoons I watched on Saturday mornings when I was little.

You can read all of the stories and see all of the art here. The next theme will be Gendertwist, and you can sign up here (post locked to community members), though unfortunately I have been late writing this review and you only have till the 9th to finish your story.

Remember to comment on anything you read!
brigdh: (Cyprus)
[livejournal.com profile] imaginarybeasts is "a bi-monthly webzine dedicated to original fiction of the oneshot variety". Anyone may participate, whether you would like to write, make visual art, volunteer to help with beta'ing, or, most importantly, read and review the stories. The authors and artists need love, people. I'm a bit behind with my reviewing, so first let me give you the link to the latest edition.

Each edition, or "book", has a theme; December's was "Fairy Tale". It produced some excellent stories and art. I particularly recommend:

The Path to Companionship by [livejournal.com profile] smallfeathers. This is a lovely feverdream of a story, with gorgeous imagery and details that make sense emotionally, if not in reality. It is, in part, a story about how cats come to fall in love, or at least friendship. "No," she says. "Cats belong to themselves and no one else. If you remember that, they will not ignore you quite so much."
Appetities by [livejournal.com profile] akavertigo. A fairytale which isn't so much a fairytale, which little magic. But it's about wolves and witches nonetheless, plus it has lots of awesome food porn. I adored this.
Borrowed Skin by [livejournal.com profile] bwinter. This absolute genius of a story is set not in a medieval kingdom, but an Eastern European country shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, which it refers to as the Great Change. This story is excellently written, moving and scary and amazing, but what I really love it how it takes the ordinary stuff of political movements and makes them into fairytale details.
Seafoam by [livejournal.com profile] scratchmist. Han Christian Anderson's Little Mermaid, as told by one of the mermaid's sisters. This is lovely and heartbreaking, and such a right take on the story.
Spindle's Worth by roselia grimm. A perfect little snowglobe of a story, rich with details and illusions to a world outside this piece, thick and complicated. I love all the references to other fairytales here, both famous ones and new. Gorgeous.

These are just my favorites. All of the stories and art are worth taking a look at, which you can do here.
brigdh: (not a pretty pretty princess)
I got to see a special showing of The Golden Compass last night! Yay! I was so excited to see this movie; I first read the books back when I actually was the age they're targeted at, when I was 12 or 13. Well, the first two; by the time the third one came out I was a bit older, and have vivid memories of not sleeping a whole night to tear through it.

Not really spoilers, since it has the same plot as the book, but if you want to see without having heard anyone else's reactions )
brigdh: (art)
[livejournal.com profile] imaginarybeasts is "a bi-monthly webzine dedicated to original fiction of the oneshot variety". The theme for this book was "ghost story", and I think it turned out some particularly excellent stories. My favorites:

The Haunting of the Hell House on the Hill by [livejournal.com profile] hazard_us. OMG! So funny! I usually do not think of ghost stories as making me howl with laughter, but this one did. I'm always terribly impressed with people who can write humor well anyway, as I can't.

The Tiger's Name by [livejournal.com profile] shirasakura. Also not a ghost story in the usual sense of the word, but a lovely and delicate story nonetheless, and one that really seems to get the details about grief and growing up just right.

Love and Hunting by [livejournal.com profile] thornsmoke (an author who also has some wonderful Swordspoint stories, so I was glad to see her participating in this). A sci-fi ghost story, which may seem like a weird combination, but works brilliantly here. The characters are vivid and fully-detailed, and the relationship between them is so beleiveable and subtle and well-written. This story went places that I didn't expect it to go, but I like it all the better for that. This one wins my 'if you only read one story' for this issue.

The Silent City by [livejournal.com profile] tarigwaemir. A story set in historical China, with the ghost of the city. I love the style of this one; it feels faint as watercolors and soft as distant music, which is really the perfect tone for its story.

That's the Way It Is by [livejournal.com profile] rei_kurasaki. This one's set in historical Japan, and tells a fairly basic ghost story. It's very well-written, and incredibly enjoyable to read. But the real appeal of this one, is in how it makes the everyday the horror of the story, and the ghost the escape from it. That twist has really made it linger in my mind after I'd read it.

The art this time was also very good. I recommend:
Skulls by [livejournal.com profile] vivaldi. Scary!
redredred by [livejournal.com profile] rakugaking. Creepy!
The Park by [livejournal.com profile] le_gris. Cute!

You can read all of the stories and look at all of the art here and, as always, my best recommendation is that you do so. The next book's theme will be Fairy Tales, and you can sign up at this post (locked to members of the community).
brigdh: (shoujo-ai)
[livejournal.com profile] bb_shousetsu, to quote their userinfo, is "a webzine for original boy's love oneshot stories, intended as an online, English-language text equivalent of one of those All Yomikiri Bimonthly Summer Special 100 Extra Pages!! manga phonebooks where every story is about the torrid romance of an ordinary schoolboy and his soccer club captain - or a teenaged yakuza boss and his faithful lieutenant - or the prince of an exotic desert country and the emerald-eyed winged bishounen he rescues from the sawtoothed sand monsters of G'or, self-contained in 30 pages and heartwarmingly predictable. Our editorial policy is to dispense with meaning and literary merit and concentrate on cracked-out inconsequential fun."

However! Every summer they have a special issue featuring yuri (female/female) stories instead of yaoi (male/male) stories, which is pretty much the best thing ever. Why is there no regular yuri webzine? Maybe I should start one. Maybe I should create extra hours in the day first. Maybe I should just beg someone else to run it and enjoy the free, effortless stories.

Anyway, as I've said, the theme of the summer issue is yuri. You can read all of the stories (and appreciate the art which comes with the illustrated ones) here. I particularly recommend:

The Archive by Kagamino Kage. A very interesting urban fantasy with a main character who has a fascinating relationship to reality. This feels more like a novel than a short story, but in a good way, like there's a lot left to explore that you'd like to read. There's also some lovely images in here, which is always a plus.
The Heart Eater's Children by Usagi Anami. When I was 13 or so, I was obsessed with the Drizzt Do'Urden books; I read them until I had them memorized. Which clearly explains why I fond this story of a twisted, dark relationship in a Dark Elf society to be a good read. I like the way gender roles work themselves out here, too; there's quite a different twist on things like using a strap-on.
The Passion of Saints Tryphaena and Tryphosa by Shukyou. My favorite story of the issue. It uses the style and format of early Christian writings, and it does it really, really well, even in the sex scenes. It could be just blasphemous fun, but this story strikes me as something much more lovely.
Masks and Stockings by Torino Koji. I liked the story a lot because it has a transgendered person as the main character, and that's not the focus of the story. It's there, it effects some relationships, but so often a story with such a character comes off as a Very Special Episode, but instead 'Masks and Stockings' manages to let Alex be a real, three-dimensional person, and tell a normal story about first relationships. That made me happy.
Fire by Tsukizubon Saruko. The basic plot of this story is: a fighter pursues Fire across a desert. But wow. There is so much more going on here, about passion and love and obsession, and the writing is just absolutely gorgeous. Well worth the read.

My only criticism with this issue? Needs more sex scenes! Heh. The next issue will be out in October, and will probably have a theme of 'Horror'. However, signups have not yet started; I'll let you all know when the post goes up, or you can join [livejournal.com profile] bb_shousetsu yourself.

*Yeah, yeah, eventually I'll get around to posting something other than reviews of webzines, but that time is not right now.

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