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1. I spent several days avoiding spoilers for Doctor Who; now that I've seen the most recent episode I'm not sure it was all that worth waiting for.  Capaldi acted brilliantly again; the writers gave almost an overdose of clever, effective internal and external cultural refs and nudges; there was a seriously engaging look at the bitterness of the loss of the memory of a beloved as well as of the living presence*; there was an upbeat ending.  But I don't think it worked as a whole, or as a culmination of a  season; it conspicuously ducked the hard work of constructing logical, working coherence, in either plot or world-building, and I think it really undercut the main emotional impact of 'Face the Raven'. 
In toto - disappointing, given the serious talent involved
*The last shot of the Doctor's Tardis, with the ashes of the past blowing away - that was punchy.

2. There' a three-sentence fiction going on on LJ right now - I'm lagging badly in it - partly because I'm a bit short of energy right now, but also because I am so not in touch with most of the fandoms.  :(  I should at least steep myself in Greek myth before the next one of these events.  I looked at one or two classical mythology prompts, but ...no, I know too little.  I didn't know, for example,  (and was delighted to find out) that there's a genuine (late-)classical mythology about a naiad from the River Ganges.  Her name is Anaxibia, and all I can see on the internet about her is that she had to hide, with Artemis' help, to get away from Helios' hot (I suppose) pursuit 

3. This article, which I saw linked on someone else's DW journal, but I've doltishly lost whose, is an interesting attempt (in the Chinese movie sphere) to tap fan writers via a 'come-all-ye' competition, as  a cheap source to replace professional writers.

“I don’t want you to write screenplays, but stories,” Mr. Xu said, adding that contestants “will be kicked out as if it was a game of elimination.” He said the final winner would be awarded a large sum of money as well, according to a transcript of the seminar confirmed by the company.

Of course, that model would be simultaneously be a way to market research what fans wanted as well - two birds with one handy stone - and I suppose entry to the competition would involve ceding the intellectual property rights to each entry, so there's a useful other side-benefit for the movie company.

4. I really, really liked the story of "You ain't no Muslim, bruv".  (video, a bit more than a minute and a half, with some violence and arrest of attacker - the relevant bit's at 1:29ish)
I like it bec
ause it's the real East London voice; I like it because it cuts down the attacker to being nothing more than an aggro wannabeI like it whether the man who shouted it is Muslim or not; if he's Muslim, he's refusing to let the attacker use his faith to wedge him out of the surrounding (very strong) culture; if he's not, he's beautifully acknowledging the best of Islam as a religion of peace and compassion.


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So, this helps explain why my internet access has been running so slow all week.  (Though the clip of the shark gnawing a cable is just  from the files, not this week's actual damage being done.)   I've been running slow myself, and the two of us combined - me and the internet - have made the week a wonder of non-productivity.

On the other hand, I did manage some reading - more Vorkosigan, and more George MacDonald (Phantastes, which I didn't think highly of) and the beginning of Ovid's Metamorphoses, which wasn't what I was expecting at all. I thought it would be shortish and made up of disconnected stories involving transformations of people into laurel trees, or deer, mostly as a result of sexual entanglements with the gods.  But it turns out to be (so far) a long (fifteen books!) history of the whole mythological world, beginning with
the creation )
(which was fascinating enough in itself - why did Ovid think the world had two poles, north and south?) 
and ending, I gather, though it's fourteen books away, with Aeneas and the founding of Rome.

Two shorter stories from the internet, though.  One rather moving story - of the respect paid by a Japanese family, over 140 years, to the burial place of a total stranger. 

And one account of an amulet from the sixth century, showing how religions and myths cross over and shift and emerge in new forms, to the tsk-tsk of those expert in classical forms, who are certain that the artist simply Got It Wrong.


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