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I didn't do an end of year meme for the end of 2014 or 2015, but was reminded they exist and thought of doing it again. Like the last one I did for the end of 2013 it is... not uniformly positive. Looking back at that one it is slightly weird how things book-end.

long meme is longCollapse )

Yuletide Letter

It's Yuletide signups time again!

General stuff:

I am pretty easy to please in any of these fandoms. I am generally more keen on worldbuilding / background details / plot than relationship stuff, and not particularly interested in transplantation AUs (e.g. coffee shop), but otherwise just go for it! I do not have any DNWs and I enjoy dark stuff if that's what you want to write.

My requests this year:

As Simple As Hunger - D Des Anges


I have loved this universe ever since I read the first scraps of it on the author's LiveJournal and hoped one day there would be more. I just want some more intriguing glimpses of the world! Show me some more of the characters' run-ins with the divinatory establishment, more of the weird and wonderful ways that the arthropods organise themselves, what happens next - or what happened to set the characters up in the places we see them take the stage at the start...

I am up for canon-divergence AUs (e.g. what if Benjon had been returned in working order? what if El Alacrán somehow returned?) but not different-universe AUs as the universe is my major love here.

The Culture - Iain M Banks

GCU Grey Area, GOU Falling Outside The Normal Moral Constraints

First off - please feel free to take this as an 'or' rather than an 'and' request.

I have had some awesome stories out of this request in the past, so I can't resist making it again. I feel there should be as much fic exploring the edge cases and limits of the Culture's 'benevolent' Mind overlords as possible.

Literally any snippet featuring these characters will make my Yuletide, but if you would like some more guidance, I am very interested in the relationships between ships, ships' mobiles, drones, and their biological crew - how these beings of widely ranging processing power nevertheless relate to each other and treat each other as important, useful parts of the whole society - while not necessarily respecting each other in the way that they thought they wanted to be respected, but almost always respecting each other in some important way.

Changeling: The Lost


Tell me about your character! No, really - tell me about your character - or the character you've always wanted to play in this setting but never got a chance to actually run them. Tell me where they came from, what happened to them, how they got free, whether they're sure that they are free or whether they are just waiting to be reeled back in, what they're doing with it / about it...

I just think there are so many fascinating characters that can exist within this setting and I'd love to hear about yours.

Yuletide Reveals post

First up - go and read the ridiculously awesome gift I got. It is Culture fic which has made me very hopeful that people will be able to continue to write stuff in the Culture universe, because it is pitch-perfect and contains all the things I like about Culture stories:

Done that? Good, so here is the rubbish that I managed to write. I was hideously ill for most of the Yuletide writing season this year, so I have been way less prolific than usual and the results are rather shorter, but this is what I did manage to put out.

My actual assignment, a songfic to with the request to do something new with it rather than follow the obvious reference; I think this one turned out okay, although I'd have liked to make it a bit longer if I'd had the energy:

The one straight-up treat that I wrote, because @worstmuse on Twitter had me giggling for some time when I was perusing the fandom lists and I was itching to use it as a series of terrible writing prompts:

The first pinch-hit I picked up because I was kind of missing my usual habit of getting to read a book and write fic to it, and it was posted to the list a few times before I gave in; I sourced The Lastborn of Elvinwood for review from and the novel itself comes highly recommended if you like very English fantasy like the early parts of The Dark Is Rising.

I feel slightly bad about writing something very derivative and obvious, and kind of feel like I should have picked one of the request prompts (I initially planned to do something with 'what are the Vicar's origins?') but I didn't have the energy to develop my own plot to my satisfaction, so this is an interstitial piece (which you shouldn't even _open_ before the book, because even the tags are spoilers):

The second pinch-hit I acquired was because I couldn't believe no-one was picking it up - I have a strict policy of not picking up pinch-hits unless they've been returned to the list, and here was one with a prompt I'd already stuck on my Potential Treats list under 'easy fandoms to pick up'. (Okay, so the heading in my document is actually 'Crack'.) So, without further ado - sex geckos in space:

How to vote in 2015 if you're similar to me

I wrote this in a FB comment but though it probably was worth an actual post. Note that this was written for a specific audience and therefore assumes a specific viewpoint - obviously if you e.g. care more about general economic consequences than short-term suffering of the disadvantaged, you will have a different priority set.


You should consider voting Green if they have a decent chance in your area, or if there is no pressing reason to vote for anyone else (e.g. because your area is an entirely safe seat and there are no other excellent candidates to reward).

They have the best policy direction (although the actual details are deeply unrealistic in places), but will probably fall apart like the Lib Dems if they get anywhere near a coalition, because they similarly have little negotiation experience and not much funding; however, this is unlikely to happen this election, and a vote for them signals to the other parties that adopting Green-like policies is a worthwhile direction for obtaining votes.

You should consider voting Lib Dem if your local candidate is excellent, if they stand a chance of winning, or if you dislike Green policy elements or your local Green candidate too much to vote for them.

The Lib Dems also have excellent policy on paper, and pushing the other parties in their direction by voting for them is no bad thing. They will be a useful brake on the bad tendencies of any other party in coalition (they take the edge off Conservative screw-the-poor doctrine and Labour authoritarianism, even if not as much as you might like). Which candidate is important - if you can support a 'good' LD then you can help with the internal party struggle.

You should consider voting Labour if your seat is borderline Conservative / Bad Lib Dem / UKIP and your vote could make a difference, or you have an excellent local candidate.

Labour is not doing very well at staying on the left and has always had a huge authoritarian streak which is pretty unpleasant, but they will probably kill fewer people than the Conservatives if they get to form the largest minority or majority in the upcoming government. Again, supporting good candidates helps shift the balance of power within the party, which is vitally important.

You might consider voting Conservative if your local candidate is truly excellent, if the other candidates in your area are terrible, or if you are in a borderline UKIP seat where the Conservatives are the only real opposition.

The Conservatives have been pretty terrible and look set to continue that way / get worse as they chase UKIP, but they are still better than UKIP and some individual Conservatives may well be worth supporting - and some terrible Labour or Lib Dem MPs may well be worth opposing.

You should never consider voting UKIP, but you might consider _campaigning_ for them if you are sufficiently cynical to pull it off and live in a marginal Conservative seat which doesn't have a risk of actually going UKIP.

UKIP are a terrible party who exist primarily to make the other parties more xenophobic and generally afraid-of-the-Other. There are many valid problems with the EU, but that does not excuse voting UKIP at a national election - most of the major parties have promised a referendum anyway. Even supporting good candidates (if you can find any) / punishing bad candidates isn't worth signalling in their policy direction (or, worse, actually helping your seat go UKIP). If you want to signal anti-establishment, vote Green instead.

In more cheerful news, Yuletide reveals

I've been a bit remiss in Yuletide-posting this year; I got a lovely gift about Mo from the Laundry Files and how she comes to terms with that seriously creepy violin:

Violins at Work

Alas, it looks like my Mystery Author hasn't written that much else - although I still have a pile of other reading from the rest of the archive...

Despite being out for the entire month of December in NZ, I also managed to write some stuff and I waffle about it at length in the rest of this postCollapse )