So, assignment I was working on in last post is now over and done with (well, putting aside editing and rewording) - which to my surprise got done on a Friday, when it wasn't even due until Monday. Wonders never cease.

I suppose I should work on the other thing due Wednesday tomorrow.

So, today I ended up doing some social type things, mostly involved in a Teddy Bears' Picnic I was invited to, of all things. But it involved socialising and foods, so it was all good. Hung out at the Flinders St steps for a bit waiting to meet people for it, and randomly saw some guy in a Fourth Doctor Scarf, and even more randomly someone in a Massacre Princess/blood-stained Euphie outfit.

Was there some unknown cosplay thing on in Melbourne today, or was someone just wearing that for the hell of it?

I didn't end up bringing a teddy bear, instead I brought plushy Death and cake. And the whole picnic lunch ended up going for about 4 hours over three different locations, so there's that.

And after I wandered with Yuhan and Alex up to some gaming shop to kill time by playing board games. And I didn't lose, huzzah!

...Yes, these things amuse me. But it's either talking about that, or Mawaru Penguindrum, since we seem to have got to the point in the series where my comments on the reaction post all seem to be getting the TL;DR penguin on account of theories. And Ikuhara mindfuck.

Speaking of TL;DR and theories, does anyone read the Leviathan trilogy, by Scott Westerfeld? Sort of steampunk AU WW1 era series, featuring a secret heir to an empire and a girl dressed as a boy so she can join the (equivalent to the) air force?

I took some time off from assignmenting earlier this week and finished Goliath, the last in the trilogy, and I have feelings. I kinda want talk meta-y with people about the ending - at possibly contrast with Terry Pratchett's Nation on a certain point.

Anyone willing to join in chat?

ETA: Okay, some spoilers in the comments (for Goliath and Nation).

From: [identity profile]

I've read the Leviathan trilogy! I just bought and read the last book this week, in fact.

I haven't read Nation so I can't compare the two, but feel free to spoil it. I did like the openness of Goliath's ending (we know the Germans will lose more quickly than in real history, but not precisely what will happen or what the post-war world will be like), as well as the moral ambiguity of (or at least the discussible moral issues surrounding) Alek's zapping Tesla.

I liked the way the series' setting as a whole was an obvious Rule of Cool steampunk/dieselpunk/biopunk Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot mashup, but it didn't feel pointlessly baroque or throw in cliches just because it could - there was a reasonable degree of logic and consistency. The wonderful illustrations helped the setting feel real as well - they make the books more than worth the asking price, in my opinion, and I hope we see more sci-fi/fantasy books with illustrations in a similar vein as a result of Leviathan's success, even if only in the young-adult market.

*Scott Westerfeld seems to like open endings - his earlier The Risen Empire (The Risen Empire + The Killing of Worlds) also has an open end where a revolution against the established order has begun but the outcome isn't told.

From: [identity profile]

I haven't read any of the Westerfeld's other books, but I think I picked up Leviathan on a whim when it was going cheap somewhere and was rather charmed by the whole thing and it's worldbuilding and characters. So I decided to get the rest as they came out.

Anyway, to give a really rough spoiler outline so you can see why I am comparing the endings, Nation is a stand-alone Pratchett YA novel, and I highly recommend it.

It's set in a crazy AU version of the world circa 1860s, and a very nasty influenza has basically wiped out the entire royal family of England, meaning the new King is now an obscure noble acting as governor in one of the colonies. His daughter, "Daphne" (Not her real name, but she likes it better than the one she was given) - completely oblivious to the fact she's just become heir to the throne - is sailing to meet him and is one of the main characters.

The other is Mau, a boy from an equivalent-to-Pacific-Islander tribe, who is canoeing back from his manhood rites to his tribe. Big Tsunami comes, wrecks Daphne's ship and destroys Mau's island, meaning that his entire tribe is dead and so is everyone else on the ship, leaving the two stuck on the island alone, and both horribly traumatised.

They learn to cope, etcetera, survivors from other islands eventually join them, there is a lot of character development and learning independence and getting a way from pointless traditions and so on, which is great to read but a bit complex, but I'll cut to the ending with the key comparison.

Eventually, the ship with Daphne's father comes to rescue her, as well as informing her she is now princess. There is some pretty heavy subtext that she and Mau are falling in love, and that she'd rather stay on the island with Mau and the new tribe he has built instead of heading back home to become royalty.

But she chooses to leave Mau, despite her love for, and be the heir (and later Queen). There is a line in the (set in the future) epilogue that gives a reason for it, "I think they both thought more about their people than they thought about themselves."

And one of the reasons she does this is to prevent there being a war over the succession.

I just found it really interesting the counterpoint between the two scenarios, two heirs to the throne torn between perceived duty to their people and love for a commoner, and how their choices end up so differently.

From: [identity profile]

I certainly see the contrast now. I think the difference in Leviathan is that taking the throne was only a somewhat distant possibility for Alek, and as a means of ending the war it wasn't guaranteed to work or even be necessary. The world had changed, as well, and it should have been obvious after some of the stuff he'd seen that it wasn't really possible any more to just wave a piece of paper and shout "I am now your supreme ruler!"

The only other work of Westerfeld's that I've read is The Risen Empire (I first got Leviathan because it was discussed at; he's written several other young-adult series. Before Leviathan he was actually known for screwing over the romantic pairings in his books, so I think a lot of people were quite relieved that Alek and Deryn got their 'happily ever after'.

From: [identity profile]

I think part of it comes down to my expectations, that I'd heard some comments in which Westerfeld said a few things about how it wasn't going to a perfect happy ending, and that somehow got my expectations tilted towards something a little more bittersweet (Yes, the world isn't perfect, but Alex and Deryn get their pretty much happily ever after).

Though it really just begs the question of what people find more satisfying as an ending; the characters getting the good end but the world being still more vague and unpredicatble, or the other way around.

From: [identity profile]

There was 2 meets on yesterday. One was "Botanicon II" and the other was "Oldschool Manifest Meet". I was considering going to one of them but I have too much university work. Now I'm sad I missed someone cosplaying Euphie! :(

From: [identity profile]

I usually find out via facebook, no one really uses the Manifest forums much anymore! :O

From: [identity profile]

I only really show up to the big conventions (Manifest, Supanova et al.) anyway. I'd love to do more of the cosplay thing, but that would require actually sewing.


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