fictional: (regency)
Item: Lord Peter Wimsey.

Sadly Dorothy Sayers wrote Lord Peter mysteries of a finite number, and then moved onto religious plays, and Dante of all things...[and I say, wasn't one infernal poet enough??? I ask you. When the world could have been blessed with tales of Lady Peter (nee Miss Harriet Deborah Vane) and the Wimsey sproglets in WWII to say nothing of Bunter & Lord Peter's engrossing activities in Intelligence as well as those of Viscount St. George alias Jerry (it occurs to me that nickname couldn't have done him any favors in the RAF, now could it???) and his adventures in the Battle of Britain... from where I am sure he effected a daring escape of some kind, Miss Sayers' opinion to the contrary. And Winnifred. Perhaps we might actually meet her. And some more Dowager Duchess wouldn't come amiss. But I digress.]

So, okay, you read all the mysteries, then move on to the continuations by Jill Paton Walsh, then you want more. Naturally, being a person of sound taste and judgement, you proceed to the Wimsey fanfic on the web, all of it being of a surprising quality, but small in number. (Perhaps the explanation of the former lies in the latter.) You watch the filmed adaptations (Strong Poison and Have His Carcase excellent; Gaudy Night unforgivably awful).

And then? What then?

There are numerous directions to go: one can proceed to the incomparable Miss Heyer for the regency worldbuilding tinged with a gorgeous and delightful twenties/thirties aesthetic - (Incidentally Lord Peter's world, and Heyer's Regency are... surprisingly similar, now that I think of it. Including rhythms of phrase, etc.; says something about our tendency to merrily and muddily accept anything prewar and historical as "back then")... and know the path from there is straight towards comedies of manners, and probably on into fantasies of manners. Unexceptionable, what?

But suppose that's not desired... one can go and read inspirational texts... not the spiritual kind (not the chicken soup meaning anyway), but the ones that have their genesis in love. I've got Lois McMaster Bujold at my fingertips... and I remember my last reread of the Sayers oeuvre was in fact a sort of reverse application of this phenomenon -- I was desperate for more Miles Vorkosigan, and clearly the only thing to do was apply poultice of Lord Peter and hope for the best.

However! Ruthlessly back to the original quandary. One could go straight into P.G. Wodehouse say, and maybe after that wind up with a little Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in A Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)... and then... maybe a soupçon of Evelyn Waugh? Or backwards instead and choosing to indulge in a little, as Lord Peter might say, coming over all Galsworthy? I've always meant to give the Forsyte saga another wallop. And from thence backwards to Miss Austen? And then through to Emily Eden's "The Semi Attached Couple" and oh golly, back to la belle Georgette. A person could get dizzy with all this perambulating backwards and forwards in time.

[Incidentally, it occurs to me there is something quite Wimsey-esque to the Doctor and his TARDIS. Screwdriver/monocle, TARDIS/enviable Lagonda, post-(Time)war PTSD -- the arrogance, and the angst over condemning those that must be condemned... the list goes on and on. There's the fun of it all too.

Anyone up for a Tennant-Wimsey remake????

Incidentally, I wonder what pre-WWII era Torchwood would have made of Lord Peter....

...I but stir the pot.]

Thoughts? The important thing is to have a Plan.

Also, I really need a "reading books" icon.
fictional: (regency)
[Organized by Book Title, then Story Title. Alphabetical. Last Updated 19 January 2009]
[Starred Fics Especially Recommended]

First, not really a Rec, but collected for the Fun of It:

untitled heyer erotica [My Lord Robert aka My Lord Rule]/My Lady Annabel aka Horatia]
Author: Rosanne Goodwins
The Convenient Marriage
[Het. Explicit. Pornographic, in fact. BDSM]
It's good. And original. Sadly, what is good, isn't original, and what's original isn't...well, you get the idea. The author claims to have copied Heyer's “style of writing” but of course, she's copied most of her phrasing as well. I especially love the part where the archivist compliments the prose. I'm sure Miss Heyer would appreciate it. Anyway. It's lifted directly from The Convenient Marriage, if Rule were into spanking, caning and otherwise correcting Horatia. There are a few odd anachronisms in the * ahem * new material.

The List:

His Favorite Cousin [Jack/Hugh]
Author: [ profile] tetsubinatu
[Slash. Het. OFC. Dubcon.]
I'm a sucker for rare pairings, and this one does not disappoint. Jack/Hugh is not a pairing I'd ever thought of before, but this fic convinces you beautifully, highlighting Jack's viciousness and hotness, and Hugh's inability to withstand either very nicely. I know what I'll be thinking of next time I re-read Cotillion.

*A Gentleman of Taste [Freddy/Kitty + Cousins]
Author: [ profile] athousandwinds
[Het. Not Explicit.]
Five trials that the Honourable Frederick Standen endured with sang-froid and savoir-faire, or would have if he'd spoken a word of French. Romantic, lovely, clever and great fun.

*Kissing Cousins [Freddy/Kitty, Freddy/Jack]
Author: [ profile] wordsofastory
[Slash. Not Explicit.]
Kissing cousins, indeed. But which ones? Hilarious peacemaking between Kitty and Jack, by way of rumours ferried by Meg, and some "not in the petticoat line" brokering by Freddy. Charmingly rendered and deeply entertaining.

*What Maketh the Man [Freddy/Kitty, Jack]
Author: [ profile] valderys
[Het. Not Explicit]
Charmingly written, complete with note-perfect voices, Freddy, gallant and bemused and oddly on-the-spot as ever; Jack, perfectly sardonic, and yet allowing himself to be rescued, and Kitty who is extravagant in all things, including kindness.

The Prodigals [Vidal/Mary + relations and a highwayman]
Author: [ profile] pollymel
Devil's Cub
[Het. Not Explicit.]
Sadly you can't shoot family members the way you can highwaymen. Vidal and Mary try to cope. Some great moments and phrases in this one.

A Blind Eye [Gilly/Harriet, Gilly/Gideon]
Author: [ profile] joylee56
The Foundling
[Slash. Het. Poly. Not Very Explicit.]
A sweet solution to the perennial Foundling pairing dilemma. Gilly's a lucky man.

*Both Native and Stranger [Gilly/Gideon]
Author: Tofty
The Foundling
[Slash. Non-explicit]
This story is truly delightful, in spite of or perhaps because of its melancholy. Lovely language as well.

*Flapdragon'd [Gilly/Gideon]
Author: [ profile] vissy
The Foundling
[Slash. Explicit.]
Simply spectacular, this story takes a surprisingly rare tack - giving the Duke of Sale mourning weeds. Luckily he's got a pair of [delightful!] hell born brats, Francis the footman, a family who loves him, and of course, Cousin Gideon. I just loved this; the detail is stunning, and the writing absolutely lovely. This one's another of the best to come out of this fandom, I think.

*Topsy-Turvy [Gilly/Gideon, Gilly/Harriet mentioned]
Author: [ profile] mireille719
The Foundling
[Slash. Not Explicit]
This story is one of the best Heyer fics I've read. I really love it. Why are all good Foundling stories so sad? It's not like it's a sad book!

*Bachelors of Some Renown [Gil/Ferdy]
Author: [ profile] damned_colonial
Friday's Child
[Slash. Non-explicit]
I heart this story! Heyer's rakish, men-about-town “confirmed bachelors” just beg to be slashed, and this little vignette seizes on the theme and gives us a metafic that manages to stay wonderfully in character.

Much Ado [Book pairings + Ferdy/Gil]
Author: [ profile] twistedchick
Friday's Child
[Slash. Non Explicit.]
Very sweet. And I like the Shakespeare stuff.

The Return of the Grand Sophy [book pairings]
Author: [ profile] joylee56
The Grand Sophy
[Het. Non-Explicit]
A nice romp, Sophy style.

The Unmasking [Sir Anthony/Robin]
Author: [ profile] moth2fic
The Masqueraders
[Slash. Explicit]
This is one of Heyer's cross-dressing books – and I confess I wondered if it even needed ficcing, considering the fantastically gender-queer original text. After reading this delightful little story – I think you too will agree that it definitely does!

*Prick of the Sword [Sir Anthony/Prudence/Robin]
Author: [ profile] twistedchick
The Masqueraders
[Slash. Het. Threesome. Incest. Explicit]
Wow!! twistedchick really delivers on the promises made and hinted at in the original text. Beautifully written. Very hot. Highly recommended.

Bitter Remembrance [Francis Cheviot / Louis de Castres]
Author: [ profile] redsnake05
The Reluctant Widow
[Slash. Explicit.]
Another rare pairing, but one I always wanted to see after (finally) locating the novel. Wish it were longer, but so nice to see it done!

Adeste Fidelis, Satanas [Justin/Hugh]
Author: [ profile] ionescribens
These Old Shades
[Slash. Explicit.]
Another lovely Avon/Davenant through the years before Leonie.

*Arabesque [Justin/Leonie, Justin/Hugh mentioned]
Author: [ profile] ionescribens
These Old Shades & Devil's Cub
[Het. Slash. Non-Explicit]
I just...really love this little vignette. Voices captured perfectly, and just somehow right. I wish it had been longer too!!!

*Chrysopeia [Justin/Leon(ie)]
Author: [ profile] flourish
These Old Shades
[Het. Genderqueer. Not Explicit.]
This is delightfully and subversively queer under the mask of straightness -- much like the novel itself. Non-linear, thoughtful, and really smart, with a varying Leon/Leonie pov.

The Devil's Choice [Justin/Hugh, Justin/Leonie mentioned]
Author: [ profile] fajrdrako
These Old Shades
[Slash. Explicit. BDSM mentioned]
While I adore slash pairings in Heyer, I find myself really unable to read ones that don't acknowledge the romantic pairing featured in the novel. When they acknowledge and honor it, whilst adding new dimensions and complications – I swoon in delight. This author's uncompromising look at his grace, the Duke of Avon really sold this story to me. It's also really hot.

Rome [Justin/Hugh, Justin/Leonie mentioned]
Author: [ profile] ishafel
These Old Shades
[Slash. Not Very Explicit.]
This doesn't read much like Heyer, but I like it anyway, especially for the last paragraph.

*The Wages of Vice [Justin/Hugh, Justin/Leonie]
Author: Jat Sapphire
These Old Shades & Devil's Cub
[Slash. Explicit]
Beautifully researched, and just beautifully done. If you read Heyer fic, you've probably already read this one.

*Ajax Renown'd [Hugh/Vincent]
Author: [ profile] grondfic
The Unknown Ajax
[Slash. Explicit]
A rare pairing, and quite delightful.

*Five Years [Aubrey, Damerel/Venetia]
Author: S.J.Kasabi aka [ profile] sjkasabi
A very nice look at Aubrey through the years - his crotchets & sulks, his brilliant yet oblivious mind, and slow unfolding into the person he was meant to be. Aubrey is one of my favorite characters in the Heyer oeuvre and I'm very fond of this story.
fictional: (Default)
I've been in something of a funk lately.
I don't know why. There's no very good reason for it. But I suppose that's the way of funks.

I'm sure you guys all heard about this. I kept imagining the resulting discussion in high levels of government.

Deputy Chief of Staff: "Okay...You're not going to believe this, but we...uh...mailed some missile parts to Taiwan. By mistake."
Chief of Staff: "What?!!"
DCS: "Uh. Yeah."
CS: "WHAT?! How could we do that? Where were they supposed to go?"
DCS: "Yeah, I don't know. This happened four months ago."
DCS: "Uh, yeah."
Cute Perky Blonde Assistant to Chief of Staff: "You guys never heard of UPS? They have online tracking and everything!"
CPBACS: "What? I'm just saying. I know where my packages are at all times."

Yeah. I've been watching a lot of The West Wing lately.

I also note that ham prices have gone up. And milk. And bread. And Ikea bookshelves. And tomatoes. Probably other stuff too, but that's what springs to mind. I almost wish I had hung on to more of my rupees when I got back from India. They might have come in handy during The End Times.

I've been reading a lot of Georgette Heyer.

In India, this past winter, I embarked on the Great Heyer Hunt. Even though a few of the Regencies have been reprinted by Harlequin (and man, is it embarrassing to whip out those on the subway! I always want to interject and tell people about the elegant prose, and awe-inspiring world building - like the very best fantasy novel), it's not nearly enough. So I thought bookstores in India would be my saviors - that's where I got the first of my Heyers. I was inspired to do so after reading the dedication to Sorcery & Cecilia - with company like that (Jane Austen, Ellen Kushner, J.R.R. Tolkien) I figured I should at least check out what I was missing. It was pretty much love at first sight - with a ragged copy of Sylvester or The Wicked Uncle.

This time, however, the used markets in Saketh betrayed me. I tried the actual bookstores in Greater Kailash. There was only a copy of The Nonesuch to be found. Then I got serious, and headed to the used bookstalls in College Street, Calcutta, and also on Gariahat Road, right before Gol Park.
Calcutta (I really refuse to change the spelling; I think these new fangled un-anglicized spellings are pretty ridiculous on their best days, but when it comes to a city that didn't even exist till the British got there it's beyond asinine.) Anyway. As I was saying, Calcutta differs from Delhi in that the used book sellers have, you know, actually read at least the titles of the books they are selling, and are alarmingly familiar with the contents of their stalls. So you walk up and tell them what you require, and they smile at you politely, and find it for you in an instant amongst these prodigiously high, precariously piled stacks of books with the spines all facing inwards, and jammed in there all higgledy-piggledy. It's quite fascinating.

Before many seconds had passed, I was famous on that street. Word went out through the stalls, heralding my coming like cavalry and trumpets, if cavalry and trumpets could be said to waft before me in utter, super secret silence, carried on some encrypted, bookseller frequency that other, less privileged folk could neither see nor hear nor parse. The news was out: this utterly mad Bengali girl with the Amreekan accent was there to buy all the Heyers, whatever they had. I'd get to a stall - they'd smile, and inform me that I was there to find la belle Georgette, and that sadly, they didn't have any. "People hang on to these nowadays, madam - they don't come to us. Very hard to find." You don't have to tell me, I'd reply. Then I found one: Powder and Patch. I was spurred on by this faint success. Hope was not yet lost - though electricity had been. I did not quail, however, but carried candlelight. No, I'm not joking. They'd hold the candles up so I could examine the titles just in case they had overlooked something - a mental index to this bibliographic bazaar couldn't possibly be 100% accurate...could it? The manic look in my eyes must have been truly...inspiring.

And then, finally, on Oxford Street, booksellers by appointment to the governor general of India - or was it the viceroy? Whichever it was, it seemed fitting and haute tonnish! SUCCESS. I* bought thirteen of them - nearly got into a brawl with two ladies over a copy of The Talisman Ring. Needless to say, I won.

Sadly of course, they were mostly all finished by the time our plane touched down at JFK.

I think I've come to the end of the internets too. (I should share the fruits of my labours, it occurs to me - since I think I've now read every piece of Heyer fanfic currently extant on the web. I'll maybe post a reclist sometime soon.)

I need new things to read. I'll be done with Cassie Clare's City of Ashes soon; it's pretty much as compulsively readable as the first, and now I need more. What's next??? Suggestions? Comedy of manners? Fantasy of manners? Something mind-eat-y and escapist. If you please?

*[profile] faris_nallaneen informs me that since she carried many of them (and paid for at least half, if not more) the proper pronoun here should be "we." The brawl, however, was all me.


fictional: (Default)

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