As always, my reach exceeds my grasp

Tuesday, 26 September 2017 01:18 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
I spent an inordinate amount of time arduously sewing together a Batman logo - only to find at the end that I'd miscentered it!

Welp, it's for a pre-k student, I'm not redoing it. He'll neither notice nor care.

****************


Leather, Grown in a Lab Without Cows

These hermit crabs shack up inside living coral instead of mere shells

The Split Pants That Are China’s Alternative to Diapers

Children of today are better at delaying gratification than previous generations

A Brainless Slime That Shares Memories by Fusing

Hot chicken was the Prince family legacy — then Nashville transformed it into an icon, and now everybody wants a piece

Ultra-light aluminum: Chemists report breakthrough in material design

'Family Matters' House Will Be Demolished, Replaced With Condos

How Books Designed for Soldiers’ Pockets Changed Publishing Forever

Why Did India Have Ten Million Fewer Childhood Deaths Than Predicted?

By ganging up, HIV antibodies may defeat the virus

Conversions From Islam in Europe and Beyond

Black, Jewish And Avoiding The Synagogue On The High Holy Days

Earthquakes are even harder to predict than we thought

Mexico City’s People Power

Broad swath of US deemed environmentally suitable for mosquitoes that transmit disease

Why Wages Aren’t Growing

Governments turn tables by suing public records requesters

4 Disabled People Dead in Another Week of Police Brutality

The Persistent, Wide Racial Gap in Attitudes Toward the Police

Federal government notifies 21 states of election hacking

Trump's 'election integrity' group is waging war on the right to vote

Puerto Rico Puts Its Prisons Near Flood Zones. After Hurricane Maria, thousands of families await news. (Seriously, look at that map!)

Failing dam creates new crisis on Puerto Rico amid flooding from Hurricane Maria

Puerto Rico's power system is "basically destroyed", the US Virgin Islands are under a 24 hour curfew

Why Do Border Deaths Persist When the Number of Border Crossings Is Falling?

Border Patrol Arrests Parents While Infant Awaits Serious Operation

The Economic Costs of Domestic Violence

Thousands rally in Philippines, warn of Duterte 'dictatorship'

For Decades, Nazis Have Been Germany's Shame. But Is That About To Change?

Southeast Asia's Rohingya Refugee Crisis Reaches a Terrible Peak (Photos)

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Saturday, 23 September 2017 09:57 pm
[syndicated profile] doctor_who_daily_feed

Posted by merryghoul

Do you have a Doctor Who community or a journal that we are not currently linking to? Leave a note in the comments and we'll add you to the who_daily reading list.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Because of the high posting volume and the quantity of information linked in each newsletter, who_daily will no longer link fanfiction that does not have a header. For an example of what a "good" fanfic header is, see the user info. Thank you.

Off-LJ News
Doctor Who News: Candy Jar Books announces titles for their five new Lethbridge-Stewart novels

(News via og_news, blogtorwho, and tardisscanner among others. For additional news please visit googledw.)

Communities and Challenges
dwstills: Challenge No. 68: Icon Battle Best-Of-Set Voting
dw100: Challenge No. 670: renegade

Discussion and Miscellany
louisedennis with the cover of the fanfic anthology Perfect Timing 2

Fanfiction

Completed
Worth It by badly_knitted [Jack, Nine | G]

If you were not linked, and would like to be, contact us in the comments with further information and your link.

Bisexual visibility day

Saturday, 23 September 2017 05:37 pm
supergee: (teddy bear)
[personal profile] supergee
I can see a whole lot of you, and you are encouraged to wave.

[ SECRET POST #3916 ]

Saturday, 23 September 2017 03:29 pm
case: (Default)
[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets

⌈ Secret Post #3916 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.

01.


More! )


Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 02 pages, 43 secrets from Secret Submission Post #561.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.

[ SECRET SUBMISSIONS POST #562 ]

Saturday, 23 September 2017 03:24 pm
case: (Default)
[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets
[ SECRET SUBMISSIONS POST #562 ]




The first secret from this batch will be posted on September 30th.



RULES:
1. One secret link per comment.
2. 750x750 px or smaller.
3. Link directly to the image.
- Doing it RIGHT: http://i.imgur.com/KuBug.png
- Doing it WRONG: http://imgur.com/KuBug

Optional: If you would like your secret's fandom to be noted in the main post along with the secret itself, please put it in the comment along with your secret. If your secret makes the fandom obvious, there's no need to do this. If your fandom is obscure, you should probably tell me what it is.

Optional #2: If you would like WARNINGS (such as spoilers or common triggers -- list of some common ones here) to be noted in the main post before the secret itself, please put it in the comment along with your secret.

Optional #3: If you would like a transcript to be posted along with your secret, put it along with the link in the comment!

laurel: Picture of Laurel with Garibaldi cardboard standup (Default)
[personal profile] laurel
The sciatica returned for a bit, though less bad than it had been previously. Enough to be worrisome and annoying and with zaps of bad pain but not constant bad pain. I did All The Things and fortunately it went away after a week or so. Mostly. Was inspiration to keep doing the physical therapy stretches, that's for sure, which I'd skipped for a few days prior to this flare up.

+ + +

The new mattress is great so far, I think. I'm also sleeping with a pregnancy pillow at times (and no, I'm not pregnant and don't intend ever to be pregnant) and it seems to also help with the sciatica stuff. I think. Maybe. (It can be hard to tell.)

+ + +

We now have health insurance through MinnesotaCare! Hooray! Apparently from August onward and I'm still sorting out what we owe for various appointments in August and September and getting those paid for. Sadly doesn't cover the $600+ ER visit in July and I'm cranky about that but we'll cope. There were appeals and all manner of things we had to deal with to get this all sorted out. I think we should be covered for July too given our initial application (that was messed up by a Navigator) was made in June but it is not according to others. Harrumph. But we finally have health insurance we can actually afford and that is a great relief. Now I need to take advantage of it and get all the appointments made.

It works out that the local cheap federally subsidized clinic we've been going to is covered as well as my longtime psychiatrist at HealthPartners so that's excellent. (We went with the Healthpartners plan through MNCare.) I should be able to either go to HealthPartners for an eye exam (as I have my whole life) or to the aforementioned cheap clinic as both are covered. That reallllly needs to be my next appointment given my blurry vision which is blurry. (I really think it's just age-related changes to my eyes but it's trickier to tell for me than most given I'm already both farsighted and nearsighted, among other things. Trying to motivate myself to do that with the thought of new glasses plus, you know, seeing clearer.)

+ + +

I stalled for a bit in my Law & Order: Criminal Intent rewatch, ran into a couple of particularly gruesome episodes which surprised me a bit as I don't think of it as a gruesome show, it's not like Criminal Minds (which I gave up on because it seemed to embrace the truly grisly and gruesome). But that episode with Neil Patrick Harris as a cannibal of sorts? Ew ew ew.

Right after that comes "Great Barrier" which is the Nicole Wallace episode with two different endings. I'm in the midst of that one at the moment.

+ + +

The Minnesota Twins may make the postseason and this is exciting after several years of not very good baseball. Bad baseball. This year the team has been pretty great with all sorts of exciting things going on, during the first half of the season they had a lousy record at home so it didn't feel like the season was going quite as well as it actually was. They've done better at home in the second half so we've seen lots of wins and just plain exciting games.

There are also young players coming into their own, which is great to see.

And then there's Joe Mauer, back to being himself after a couple of years of not doing well due to concussions and changing positions on the field as a result. People were hard on him, but it was clear to those of us who've watched him his entire career that he had to have been struggling with post-concussion symptoms. Heck, in one interview Mauer basically admitted to playing major league baseball while experiencing blurred vision. Can you imagine? He was no longer great at baseball but was still above average. During chunks of at least one season with blurred vision. The big weirdo.

Mauer is my favorite player and it was hard watching him struggle. And certain members of the local media in Minnesota have done their best to make local baseball fans hate the guy. Seriously. Non-local baseball fans are stunned to learn Mauer is hated by a large group of people in Minnesota because honestly what on earth is there to hate about Joe Mauer? Okay, some grumble that he's overpaid but it's not like he's the only athlete who is and it's not like he didn't earn that payday by being the best player in baseball for a time. That's what happens when you award someone for an awesome season or two with a multi-year contract, it just is. And somehow these people who complain forget that Joe Mauer was playing for not a lot of money (as pay for baseball players go) during his first few seasons. The pay for athletes is weird. (Before baseball players make it to the big leagues, they often toil for years in the minor leagues where they are paid far less than even minimum wage and often have to room with host families and do ridiculous things just to find a way to eat. It's bad, you guys, and I get so cranky about this but fortunately there's real movement to improve the situation. I hope. Mauer didn't have to toil like this, but most others do.)

Some of the other things people complain about re Mauer are the sorts of things that seem Very Minnesotan. Minnesotans hating on Mauer for being reserved and Minnesotan is just . . . wrong. And yet many do. Ugh.

Anyway. Watching Mauer get back to being great is a joy, not just because I enjoy watching great athletes be great but because it's a good sign he's recovered fully (or mostly) from his brain injury. I like that. Brain injuries suck and are hard to recover from.

Thanks to the first step in every review

Saturday, 23 September 2017 11:26 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Which is creating the Amazon and Chapters links for the book being review, I know one particular book is $19.19 if you buy it from Kobo and $11.71 from Kindle....

Missy! all the Missy :D

Saturday, 23 September 2017 02:57 pm
trobadora: (Missy (stylised))
[personal profile] trobadora
Missy This Fic over at [community profile] missy_fest was the smallest fest I ever modded or participated in - only four sign-ups! But it turned out to be totally worth it, and I'm sorely tempted to do it again next year because everything that came out of it was so fantastic.

This was the idea: remix a story by making it about Missy! Either by shifting the focus to her, or by just plain adding her to a story she didn't previously appear in. And every one of the resulting remixes took a very different approach.

I haven't had a chance to catch up on commenting (I hope to do so this weekend), but I'm utterly in love with the story that remixes one of mine, the amazing Further on up the road. ♥ ♥ ♥

Here's all of the fic, including my own (which, btw, is eminently guessable) - go check it out:

Dazzle and Mysteries (Jack Harkness/Jenny, Missy/Jenny (The Doctor's Daughter)) [Teen And Up]
Original story: Not Just Another Mystery by [personal profile] navaan
Summary: This planet presents more mysteries than Jenny expected, but not more than she can handle. And, of course, there is running.

Further on up the road (Owen Harper, Jack Harkness, Missy) [Teen And Up]
Original story: Centuries From Now by [personal profile] trobadora
Summary: When a Time Lord emerges from the Rift, it's the wrong one for Jack Harkness. But could Owen Harper be the right Doctor?

The Master's Faithful Companion (Forever or Just a Day Remix) (Missy/Lucy Saxon, The Master/Lucy Saxon) [Teen And Up]
Original story: Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by [personal profile] selenak
Summary: Missy didn't plan to come to this moment in time, but she's reminded that she'd had her own puppy once.

Title: Repair Jobs (Here and Now Remix) (Missy & the Doctor's TARDIS; Ninth Doctor/Jack Harkness) [Teen And Up]
Original story: Repair Jobs by [personal profile] auroracloud
Summary: The TARDIS always goes where she needs to be. - Set during Empress of Mars. (TARDIS POV)

What I've Been Watching

Saturday, 23 September 2017 01:21 pm
lost_spook: (Dracula)
[personal profile] lost_spook
Now I've finally finished my Thriller (Part 1) review/picspam post, I am behind again. Let me talk about what I have been watching over the last couple of months (or more), other than the first 5 discs of Thriler.

1. I finished Secret Army. I did mostly enjoy it, although I got impatient with it again at the end. Terence Hardiman as Reinhardt (who doesn't give a damn about anything since they've lost the war and most of his friends have just been executed in the wake of the assassination attempt on Hitler) did liven things up, though. He was great, and not even actually evil, either. (Particularly his exit when Spoiler ) Kessler is rightly both awful and complex, of course, and Clifford Rose was very good in the role.) Bernard Hepton spent most of the last series in prison, on film, but he did eventually escape and return to the studio, and I gave it a lot of plus points for what eventually happened with Monique, too. Anyway, I watched it! I now know where 'Allo 'Allo is coming from.


2. I skipped ahead briefly to watch Suzanne Neve's second Thriller, and while I'll cover it in its turn, I can report that she is better at terrorising innocent Americans than James Maxwell: she sticks them in her underground pottery kiln and bakes them, no angsting required. 1970s Suzanne Neve is so far a lot more evil than 1960s Suzanne Neve. (I would side-eye the ending of the 1968 Dracula here, but personally, I blame Ed Bishop for throwing her down the stairs in UFO.)


3. I finally got to the E-Space trilogy (DW), watching Full Circle and State of Decay (before an appropriate break for the BBC 1977 Dracula). Full Circle has a good SF idea at the heart, but nothing else much with which to pad it out. Except Adric, but, er, well...

I enjoyed State of Decay a lot, though, especially in comparison to Full Circle (it's good to see that future spaceships will go on with BBC Acorn computers on board!). Plus, the whole Time Lords and Vampires mythology backstory is potentially fun to play with and Romana gets two great costumes, while Adric spends at least an episode unconscious, and it has a great look, particularly for that era, especially the location scenes. What more could I ask for? (I'm sorry: Adric wasn't bad in this one! I'm mean, I know.)


4. And so, then, what more appropriate than that I pause to watch the TV show that caused State of Decay to be postponed for 3 years and gave us Horror of Fang Rock instead? (Accidentally; my viewing is not really that well planed!)

I'm not really sure why the BBC were so nervy about this version of Dracula that they thought DW doing vampires at the same time might make them look silly, but apparently they were. They had no need: this is lovely. It's unlike most of the old TV I've been watching - it was 1977 doing glossy event TV with a 2 1/2 hr feature-length version of the novel that's probably the most faithful adaptation still. (Although there are some changes, of course.) It was very good! I recommend it even if you're not usually into old TV, but are into Dracula. (I believe it is up on YouTube, and I got the DVD pretty cheap anyway.)

Cut for further Dracula rambling )


6. I then decided that I should stop being wimpish and watch the rest of Mystery and Imagination. I'd already seen "Dracula", the Ian Holm "Frankenstein" and "The Suicide Club" (the one with David Collings and the cream tarts and the invisible hyenas and Major Geraldyne, because obv. that is the one that David Collings would be in). The Freddie Jones "Sweeney Todd" was out because I Do Not Do Sweeney Todd, which left me with "Uncle Silas" and "The Curse of the Mummy" out of the Thames adaptations, so I watched "The Curse of the Mummy." More about 1960s TV Victorian horror ) After that, I thought I'd had more than enough horror for a bit and left "Uncle Silas "unwatched and returned to Doctor Who and E-Space.


7. Warrior's Gate was very weird and also had Clifford Rose being excellent again. It was definitely the good weird, though, in that way only Classic Who is every once in a while. I mean, it looks like the stranger kind of 80s pop video (one that would definitely get nominated for Yuletide), so it wouldn't be for everyone, but still: the good weird/meta, I think, with bonus believably mundane, petty villains and random lion people. (It must be Doctor Who. <3)


8. I recorded Mrs Miniver off the telly, and the main thing I have taken from this is that Julian Fellowes stole the flower show plot for Downton Abbey. And given that I already know that he stole two plotlines/backstories and a minor incident from Duchess of Duke Street (as well as acting in it), I am now wondering with some interest and amusement, where exactly he swiped everything else from. (Anything from Upstairs Downstairs, maybe?) It's kind of engagingly blatant swiping, though. And gives us May Whitty vs Maggie Smith! Oh my. (I did like it, but it was made mid-WWII and so is very patriotic etc. But well done! There were some really good scenes, and Dame May Whitty as well as Greer Garson, and it was very watchable still.)


9. I also recorded the next old series Drama was offering as well, which is When the Boat Comes In. It stars Jack and Esther from New Tricks (James Bolam and Susan Jameson, who are married in rl, and going out in this). It is early 20th C Tyneside and the first episode was grim about shellshocked returning soldiers, the second had a poor orphan shipped off to Australia alone, and then the continuity announcer went, "And next, things get even harder..." It is, as they say, grim oop north. It seems good so far, though. And maybe one day the boat will come in; there are at least 40 eps on my DVR already and they may not all be equally depressing...


* I don't know if this is really a downside, though. It is very funny.

How Mitt Romney got so filthy rich

Saturday, 23 September 2017 06:50 am
supergee: (hedgehog)
[personal profile] supergee
Private equity and the Graham-Cassidy Let’s Catch Up with the Nazis and Communists Act

Challenge #670: renegade

Saturday, 23 September 2017 08:43 pm
redwolf: (dw100)
[personal profile] redwolf posting in [community profile] dw100
Welcome to [community profile] dw100! Challenges are posted approximately once a week.

Challenge #670 is renegade.

The rules:
  • All stories must be 100 words long
  • Please place your story behind a cut if it contains spoilers for the current season
  • You don't have to use the challenge word or phrase in your story; it's just there for inspiration
  • Please include the challenge word or phrase in the subject line of your post
  • Please use the challenge tag 670: renegade on any story posted to this challenge
Good luck!
kjata: mass effect 2 (secret hero of these poems)
[personal profile] kjata
playing Dragon Age: Origins. Duncan was a babe, but I've moved on to Alistair because he plays with my dog. in googling which gifts go to who I discovered what kind of fucked-up endings can happen with him if you're not playing a Human Noble, so I'm just chilling and figuring out where to go from here.


[insert rant about old white dude coming out to the land and feeling entitled to tell me what I can and cannot do with my life here]

said old white dude stomped off like a prissy little bitch when I told him to change his tone while he was talking to my mother, that she does not deserve being berated by him, so whatever you fucker, get off my land.

still have to jump through old white dude's hoops though because my mother forgot to send in the money for the land, and now we're on the verge of being foreclosed on. AGAIN. lolololol I want to die.


not getting writing done because of aforementioned hoops and also because I have to do a lot of shit outside in the small spurts of shade we get during the day. I've had a migraine nonstop since I posted the last fic, tbh, and that hasn't helped much. the only reason I'm playing DA:O is because the camera control via keyboard slows the swing down enough that it doesn't exacerbate things. which is good? but also doesn't help with productivity.

just took a benadryl for the itching/sneezing/post-nasal, so I should pass out in a couple hours. it is now raining for the first time in two weeks, whoopie. guess I'll go see about killing the zombie horde or whatever is pouring out of that castle, blah.


comments disabled because I have no wherewithal to respond to anything, soz.

Shipping meme

Saturday, 23 September 2017 09:27 am
scripsi: (Default)
[personal profile] scripsi
Gakked from [personal profile] verdande_mi.

1. Talk about the first ship you ever had.
Way before fanfiction; Aragorn/Eowyn. My father read The Lord of the Rings for me when I was eight, and I was deeply disappointed when Arwen showed up, as I had hardly noticed her before. Fanfiction-wise it was Captain Hook/Wendy Darling.

Read more... )

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Saturday, 23 September 2017 12:10 am
masakochan: (Default)
[personal profile] masakochan
Massive spoilers under the cut )

Non-spoiler summary: Aside from a few major FUCKING minor quibbles- it's an okay sequel, but I still like the 1st movie way more.

Star Trek Novel Icons

Friday, 22 September 2017 06:17 pm
sheliak: A mermaid stares in fascination down a chasm in the ocean floor, through which an underwater city is visible. (trot)
[personal profile] sheliak posting in [community profile] fandom_icons


20 Star Trek: Rihannsu icons and 55 other Star Trek TOS book cover icons over here.

Star Trek Novel Icons

Friday, 22 September 2017 06:17 pm
sheliak: Handwoven tapestry of the planet Jupiter. (Default)
[personal profile] sheliak posting in [community profile] icons


20 Star Trek: Rihannsu icons and 55 other Star Trek TOS book cover icons over here.

Friday 22nd September, 2017

Friday, 22 September 2017 09:59 pm
[syndicated profile] doctor_who_daily_feed

Posted by shinyjenni

Do you have a Doctor Who community or a journal that we are not currently linking to? Leave a note in the comments and we'll add you to the who_daily reading list.

Off LJ News
Happy Birthday to Who? - 22nd September: Billie Piper
Bessie has gone on show at the National Motor Museum
5 1/2 reasons why EVERYBODY should watch The Sarah Jane Adventures
Blogtor Who reviews Bernice Summerfield: True Stories

(News via og_news, blogtorwho and tardisscanner among others. For additional news please visit: googledw)

Challenges/Communities
public_call with some nominations reminders
dwstills posts the results of challenge #68: Doctor Who Series Ten icon battle

If you were not linked, and would like to be, contact us in the comments with further information and your link.

[ SECRET POST #3915 ]

Friday, 22 September 2017 05:52 pm
case: (Default)
[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets

⌈ Secret Post #3915 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.

01.


More! )


Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 00 pages, 00 secrets from Secret Submission Post #560.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.

Thread

Friday, 22 September 2017 08:01 pm
elisi: (OMG!!!)
[personal profile] elisi
Originally posted by [profile] xkcd_rss at Thread
maia: (Default)
[personal profile] maia
Happy Bilbo's and Frodo's Birthday, and Happy Equinox!!!

Keats' "To Autumn"

Friday, 22 September 2017 12:39 pm
maia: (Bumblebee and Asters)
[personal profile] maia
A collage I made in 2015, with 9 photos of bees that I took in August, September, and October between 2008 and 2015, and a quote from Keats’ “To Autumn”.




Full size )

Flowers, from left to right and top to bottom: tomato, sunflower, goldenrod, bachelor's button, buckwheat, jewelweed, goldenrod, radish, aster.

*
selenak: (Schreiben by Poisoninjest)
[personal profile] selenak
Back when I marathon-read Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series, I saw he's also authored a lot of novels for children, and had a new one coming out this month, a standalone called Frederick the Great Detective, which, however, mysteriously seems to be available in German before it is in English. (Mysterious because Kerr's Scottish and writes in English, and the novel, which got released today, is indeed translated from the English original, I checked the imprint.) Anyway, the novel has a very similar premise to a movie I saw at last year's Munich Film Festival, Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday - the review I wrote about the film is here: boy falls in love with Emil and the Detectives, befriends its author, Erich Kästner, in the twilight of the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich ensues, boy tries to maintain ideals of novel versus increasingly awful reality. Having read the novel now, I can add a further parallel: both Friedrich in Frederick the Great Detective and Hans in Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday have an older sibling who is enthusastically joining the Nazi cause. My original suspicion as to why Kerr picked a fictional main character instead of Hans, who actually existed and did befriend Erich Kästner, was because Hans' fate was sealed by history, and that Kerr wanted a better fate for his young hero. Spoilers ensue. )However, by that point, I had already guessed various other reasons why Kerr chose a fictional over a fictionalized "real" main character, and the differences to Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday are instructive here.

For starters, there's the difference in focus: Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday is, as far as Hans is concerned, a coming of age story - he goes from child to teenager and young man in the course of the story - and has Erich Kästner as the other lead, whose perspective through the movie is even the slightly favored one. Frederick the Great Detective, by contrast, has Kästner only as a supporting character, aside from a prologue and an epilogue ends in late 1933/early 1934, and is above all a homage to Kästner's novel in structure, focusing on Friedrich and his same-age friends, who play detectives until it gets lethally dangerous. (The adults, whether benevolent or malignant or in between, are seen from the outside, the point of view is Friedrich's throughout.) For, befitting the author of the Gunther mysteries, there are actually cases to solve. (Though as opposed to Bernie, young Friedrich - who wants to become a detective through much of the novel - gets the point that you can't be a detective in a system where the criminals have taken over when Kästner desperately tells him just this.)

Indeed, while reading I wondered whether the basic idea for the novel might not have been a wish to write a sequel to Emil which tackles how Emil & Co. would act when the Third Reich starts, because Friedrich's gang with its twins has some similarities. Then again, Friedrich has a distinctly different background to Emil (or Hans Löhr) - no working class single parent mother, instead, middle class parents with his father a journalist and friend of Kästner's, which is the original connection, which allows Kerr to depict the way the press lost its freedom within a year. It also allows Kerr to let Friedrich and his parents vacation on Rügen where Friedrich meets Christopher Isherwood and Isherwood's boyfriend Heinz on the beach. (Leading to a charming scene where Friedrich manages to solve his very first case by finding Isherwood's lost watch.) Kerr provides quite a lot of real life characters making cameos throughout the novel - Billy Wilder (during the premiere of the "Emil and the Detectives" movie version which he scripted), Max Liebermann, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Walter Trier etc. - but the Isherwood cameo was for me the most vivid of these. (And I'm not surprised, having come across an interview where Kerr says bascially Berlin for him as a reader, before he got there, was invented by two British writers, Christopher Isherwood and John Le Carré.)

Kästner himself lis of course the real life character with the most page time, but he feels more like a generic version of Kästner's author persona than an actual attempt at depiction of the man. (As opposed to the Kästner in Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday.) Meaning: he's a benevolent adult the way, say, Justus the Teacher in "Das Fliegende Klassenzimmer" is, with no hint of any inner conflicts, and Kerr slims down the biographical and authorial data about him to "wrote Emil and the Detective, also works as a journalist"; in this book, there are no mentions of either Kästner's other books for children or his adult novel, Fabian (the one who got burned by the Nazis at the 1933 book burning), nor of his sharp political poetry (which in Germany he was and is almost as well known for as for his prose). (Hence ahistorically Emil ends up as the burned book, when in rl Emil and the Detectives was so popular that it got published, as the only one of Kästner's works, within Germany until 1936. Then it was for the axe as well.) The one biographical background fact about Kästner mentioned in conversation by Friedrich's father is in fact a wrong one, or rather, a wrong assumption, that Kästner's mother, like Emil's, raised her son alone. In rl, not only was Kästner's father around and in contact with his son, but he outlived Kästner's mother. There is, however, a reason why I didn't mind this particular wrong statement, which is: Kästner kept his father and his relationship with him very low key as long as his mother was still alive, while his relationship with his mother was intense and very public, so a colleague from work like Friedrich's father could be forgiven for assuming the guy was either dead or had left the family. ( If you've read Kästner's autobiographical writings, one of the most memorable childhood scenes which makes you cringe in sympathy is his parents' christmas competition about him, when his father, a craftsman, proudly presented presents he made with his own hand while his mother spent all her money on presents, and both parents would regard whichever present their son showed any favour to as proof whom he loved more or a rejection respectively. And thus it went on for as long as Kästner's mother lived.)

What the novel does really well, though, is presenting a group of children responding to their world changing radically, and Friedrich as a likeable child hero who ends up rejecting the demagogery, scapegoating and promise of glory that lures his older brother in because he sees how both people he knows and strangers are abused in its name. Again, in an homage to Kästner's novel which has a memorable dream sequence, Friedrich's ongoing crisis of conscience and wonder how to avoid becoming a Nazi himself climaxes in a surreal dream where the various things he has experienced come together. The lesson he draws from this is simple and profound at the same time, very Kästnerian and indeed great advice in current day circumstances as well, to the question as ow to act: Be kind. Being kind and you can't become what you fear and hate. Be kind.

Mind you, the 1945 prologue and epilogue does spoilery things ) But all in all, Frederick the Great Detective is still a very readable children's novel set in a dark time which also manages to pay homage to a classic while being its own thing.

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