quillori: blue-jay yuletide icon (yuletide (blue jay))
( Oct. 16th, 2015 11:14 pm)
Ancient Egyptian Religion - Ma'at, Imhotep, Set, Thoth

(Please feel free to take this as ‘OR' not "AND" - you don't have to fit all of them in.) Anything at all with Ma'at, whether stories that could have been told about her, or how her presence speaks to her followers. A hymn, or a story made up from fragments, or a story where she hovers always around the edges ... whatever you like. Or something dealing with Imhotep's role as god of science and magic, or with his position as a god who was once a man. Or perhaps one of the less well known stories about Set? Or something about his relationship with his worshippers. Or Thoth/Imhotep, or Thoth&Set (or indeed Thoth/Set), or anything about Thoth and his worshipers, or the scribes under his protection.

Read More - quite long owing to all the characters and combinations )



The Arrival - William Timlin

Although this was originally an illustration from the artist's own novel, I'm not at all asking for fic of that story (which I have not, in fact, read, never having come across a copy) - I'm asking for a story based solely on this piece of art. A ship sailing through the skies! A path of birds! The lake with the elegant bridge, and are those towering spires a distant city or a mountain range? And who is the single figure by water's edge?

See picture )



Golden Age 1,001 Nights Illustrations - Any

Large and ornate boxes with unknown contents, trees that grow human heads, cities that fly, mysterious spells performed in the wastelands... just tell me what is going on with one or all of these.

Read More )



كتاب ألف ليلة وليلة | Kitaab 'alf layla wa-layla | One Thousand and One Nights - جعفر بن یحیی برمکی | Ja'far ibn Yahya al-Barmaki

Famous for his power and wealth, and the favour of his Caliph, famed too for his eloquence and liberality, but led suddenly away to death in the midst of all his prosperity by that same Caliph. What sort of man was Ja'far, and did he live always with the knowledge he might fall, or was it an unthinkable betrayal?

Read More )



The Reluctant Widow - Georgette Heyer - Francis Cheviot

More Francis Cheviot! Going to his tailor, playing cards, spying, seducing French agents … anything at all.

Read More )



Liáo zhâi zhì yì | Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio - Pú Sônglíng - Any

I'm interested to see whatever you choose to make of this. Retell one of Pu Songling's stories or tell one of your own. Play around with language and allusions or concentrate on plot or on character. You could do something with the ever present fox spirits - they're viewed in such a range of ways, from meriting death through to the ambivalence of stories such as Cut Sleeve to admirable heroines (e.g. in Lotus Fragrance). Or you could do something with the relation of dreams to reality, or the extent to which stories are a type of dream. If you want to stick to a single story, you could look at Shican and Huang's relationship in Cut Sleeve - there's a lot of emotional ground at the end of that story the remains unexamined. Make your language as densely allusive or as simple as you please, your tone as light or as dramatic as you want. Gen, slash, het; light-hearted, bitingly satirical, restrained or sly or melancholy ... anything that strikes your fancy.

Read More )



In General

I really would prefer you to write the best story you can, and one you're happy with, rather than trying unsuccessfully to do something that doesn't suit you to fit what I asked for. I'm most interested in what you, dear writer, make of the source material.

Read More )
Tags:
Who would have thought I'd manage to find too many things to request for Yuletide? Generally I worry if can find enough. But this year it was almost impossible to bring it down from a final seven to the permitted six. So, very sadly, my perennial Chinese Mythology request fell by the wayside, on the grounds people wrote it for me last year. It seems unlikely anyone else will be requesting it, since I was the only one who nominated it, but who knows? Anyway, I post my poor abandoned prompt here, so that I'll have it to hand for next year, nicely formatted, and so that if anyone was wondering who the hell Ch'ing-nü was anyway, they can look at the handy links I've included.


Chinese Mythology - Any (Ch'ing-nü | Qing Nü, Māzǔ)

For Matsu, I'd love something with the seductive power of the sea and the grey savagery of its storms, the loneliness and desperate hope of those who wait on shore and the fitful presence of the divine that lets her save her brothers (or, if you prefer, that leads to her death and apotheosis). For Ch'ing-nü, something about the beauty of frost, delicate and fragile yet deadly, ushering in the killing cold of winter even as it provides a longed for respite from summer’s heat.

Read More )
Tags:
Quick rec set, in no particular order alphabetical order, in under the wire before reveals. (Apologies for any typos - done in haste from my phone at a party. ETA Apologies also for failing to include the first half of the recs!)

This year I was very lucky, and ended up with 4 stories, an unusual and really well thought out take on Ma'at, a story about Cháng'é and Qīng Nŭ (neither of which I expected anyone to write!), and two drabbles based on The Prydwen Sails Again:


Beloved of Ma'at - Egyptian Mythology
Words: 1,429

At the end of the Twelfth Dynasty, Chaos threatens the Two Lands. Sobekneferu becomes Beloved of Ma'at, and plans for future Order.


Xiao-Jie, or, A Stalemate in Four Moves

劫 (jie), also called ko, is a rule in weiqi that prohibits a play if it has the effect of creating a position that had previously occurred in the game.


The End, and Afterwards - The Prydwen Sails Again (song)
drabble

The last battle is fought and lost.

Waiting for the Ravens - The Prydwen Sails Again (song)
drabble

I should have been among that company


Other Recs:

Electronic Books Unlimited - Black Books and The Hunting of the Snark
Words: 1,656

Will the future of reading belong to CD-ROMs? Probably not, but they do provide a truly immersive reading experience.


City of Salt and Time - Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Words: 10,856

England’s first two magicians of the modern age are somewhere near Venice.


The Moonlit Door - The Listeners, Walter de la Mare
Words: 6,120

How a knight came to the house of the Shadow Folk and bargained to save his father’s life, and what then became of him.


Inugami Monogatari - Maiden Rose
Words: 3,491

Christmas, 1916

My dearest Klaus and Claudia —

I pray that this letter finds you both well, and that you are being good and dutiful children for your mother and father.

Your father has written to me of your recent voyage to the Eastern Country, and said you enjoyed the visit greatly. I am sorry that I cannot visit you at Christmas-time this year, but in my place I am sending you a volume of fairy-stories from the East, translated and retold in our own tongue for the delight and edification of children of the West like yourselves. I hope that both of you will cherish it for many years to come as a memento of your happy days abroad.

With all of my love,

Uncle Hartmann


Psmith and Jackson, RFC - Psmith
Words: 1,089

Cricket and dancing in the officers' mess.
Tags:
quillori: blue-jay yuletide icon (yuletide (blue jay))
( Oct. 17th, 2014 08:59 pm)
Ancient Egyptian Religion - Ma'at

Anything at all with Ma'at, whether stories that could have been told about her, or how her presence speaks to her followers. A hymn, or a story made up from fragments, or a story where she hovers always around the edges ... whatever you like.

Read More )

Chinese Mythology - Cháng'é, Ch'ing-nü | Qing Nü

I'd really like something dealing with Chang E's rise to the moon, or her life there: the loss of mortality, immortality gazing down on a beautiful but transient world, the loneliness of the cold, white moon. For Ch'ing-nü, something about the beauty of frost, delicate and fragile yet deadly, ushering in the killing cold of winter even as it provides a longed for respite from summer’s heat. (I would be very happy with fic about the two of them, rivals in elegance in an empty world, but I would also be happy with a story about just one or the other.)

Read More )

The Prydwen Sails Again

What I want is the ship, and the broken seas, and Caer Siddi. The glory of youth and strength, and the promise of its return, always just out of reach, but the quest never abandoned.

Read More )

Liáo zhâi zhì yì | Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio - Pú Sônglíng - Any

I'm interested to see whatever you choose to make of this. Retell one of Pu Songling's stories or tell one of your own. Play around with language and allusions or concentrate on plot or on character. You could do something with the ever present fox spirits - they're viewed in such a range of ways, from meriting death through to the ambivalence of stories such as Cut Sleeve to admirable heroines (e.g. in Lotus Fragrance). Or you could do something with the relation of dreams to reality, or the extent to which stories are a type of dream. If you want to stick to a single story, you could look at Shican and Huang's relationship in Cut Sleeve - there's a lot of emotional ground at the end of that story the remains unexamined. Make your language as densely allusive or as simple as you please, your tone as light or as dramatic as you want. Gen, slash, het; light-hearted, bitingly satirical, restrained or sly or melancholy ... anything that strikes your fancy.

Read More )

كتاب ألف ليلة وليلة | Kitaab 'alf layla wa-layla | One Thousand and One Nights - جعفر بن یحیی برمکی | Ja'far ibn Yahya al-Barmaki

Famous for his power and wealth, and the favour of his Caliph, famed too for his eloquence and liberality, but led suddenly away to death in the midst of all his prosperity by that same Caliph. What manner of man was Ja'far, and did he live always with the knowledge he might fall, or was it an unthinkable betrayal?

Read More )

In General

I really would prefer you to write the best story you can, and one you're happy with, rather than trying unsuccessfully to do something that doesn't suit you to fit what I asked for. I'm most interested in what you, dear writer, make of the source material.

Read More )
Tags:
quillori: man reading (from the Haft Awrang) (theme: reading)
( Jan. 1st, 2013 02:41 pm)
I still haven't read anything like all the stories I might - indeed I haven't read any Fairy Tales or Mythology at all, except for ones tagged with another fandom as well, or ones where I was following someone else's rec. Nor have I necessarily yet read all the stories in any given fandom. Nonetheless, sneaking in before the reveal, my first rec set. Unless otherwise stated, these are all suitable for people who don't know the original fandom well / at all.

To start with, two stand-outs:

The Wanderer's Reply to the Seafarer - The Exeter Book
Forþon siþgeomorne      yfer saelade
langoð laecþ mec      mine lisse to secanne.

Therefore longing seizes me, journey-weary, to seek my rest across the sea-course.
Fanfic for The Exeter Book, written in the original Old English. Need I say more? Well yes, I should probably add that the helpfully provided English translation is beautiful and worth reading for its own sake.


Contagious fogs - Midsummer Night's Dream
He noted it all down. The district full of empty grey boxes. Shelves filled with dingy bits of string, each tagged with their own cataloguing number. Maps so big that they covered whole floors. The blooms of mould and the books that shed their covers in his hands, moulting for the winter. The paper on which he should have been writing his essay soon became smudged with the dust of leather, telling its own story on its own terms.
On the day before his tutorial Robin finally made his way to the very top of the library, a tiny reading room sitting jauntily on the roof of the New Pond. Its windows overlooked the spires of the pearly grey city. Robin peered through the drops on the pane, squinting through his fingers, but the shape of the city remained stubbornly indistinct, just beyond his grasp.

After the chill of the stacks, the reading room was unnaturally warm. No one at the issue desk, where a calendar showed a date nine months earlier. No readers at the long tables, where signs forlornly warned that books were not to be left overnight. They had been ignored. Although the shelves of the reading room were empty, its tables were piled high with leatherbound volumes, some no bigger than a hand, all of them with spines hanging loose, covers askew, crumbling away into dust. It seemed that the reading room was abandoned.

Robin yawned and curled up in a corner like a cat. Here there were no librarians to roust him out. Here all the books were written in alphabets that he couldn't read, artfully shaped characters freighted with an obscure significance. A book open on his lap, shedding companionably onto his corduroys, and he drifted off to sleep.

He was woken again by voices. Two people strolling slowly into the room, the swish of academic gowns. Robin crawled under the nearest table, screened from view by the stacks of books.

"It's a tragedy," said a woman's sombre voice. "I crossed India and all of the Orient collecting these books on behalf of the Pondeian, on behalf of this library. And now it's all being broken up and scattered, for no reason other than that he wants to demonstrate his power over me."

Another voice, older, male. "Is that what it is?"

"What else could it be? Reasons of sound scholarship? Modernisation?" She laughed bitterly. "No one has ever advocated modernity in Oxenfloode without having a powerful ulterior motive."
I confess I almost didn't read this, for college AUs and I do not get along, but this is a University AU, which is apparently quite different so far as my reading tastes are concerned. One of the best stories, possibly the best, of Yuletide this year, I think. Perhaps the last part is not quite up to the promise of the rest, but the rest is so good, and the last part suffers only by comparison. How I would love more of this, preferably novel length.


I was also very taken with a couple of other stories.


All the Old Knives - The Kalevala, Finnish Mythology
She said to the woods and she said to the water. She told them, I tell you, my name is Kyllikki.
Haunting and raw, with some beautiful lines and a lovely use of repetition.


Songs for the Jingwei Bird - Liáo zhâi zhì yì | Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio
Then from somewhere above him came the sound of laughter, and the peddler craned his neck to see the Eight Immortals settled quite peacefully on a bamboo leaf that was bobbing precariously, even as small as they were. There was Lady He, carrying a miniature lotus and minuscule bamboo ladle; she appeared to be laughing at a scowling Iron-Crutch Li. The other six Immortals were still sleeping, their eyelids no bigger than a grain of rice.
This is the story written for me, and I think it stands quite well enough on its own to rec here, even though for me one of its great pleasures is seeing how the author took elements from the Tales, and from the traditions the Tales draw on, and put them together to create a different type of story: the same raw materials, many of the same themes, but a story recognisably in the Western tradition. I am fascinated by how stories are transmitted from storyteller to storyteller, period to period, culture to culture, and how the same story can be refracted in a hundred different directions depending on the context in which it's told.


As a Blind Man Gropes in Darkness - Swan Lake
He doesn't know what to expect when he sinks his shaking fingers into the pile of feathers. Bones, maybe, hollow and made for flying, or a stiffening body that rocks under his insistent hands. Perhaps he will bloody himself against the sharp edges of broken teeth. Perhaps there will be nothing there at all.
Disturbing and well written version of Swan Lake


Various other stories of various types: )
Tags:
quillori: blue-jay yuletide icon (yuletide (blue jay))
( Oct. 7th, 2012 08:23 am)
Dear Author,

I really would prefer you to write the best story you can, and one you're happy with, rather than trying to do something that doesn't suit you to fit what I asked for - so please, please do bear in mind that optional details are optional. If you have the opposite problem, and wish I'd given you more or more explicit suggestions, I'm very sorry - I was trying not to be overly prescriptive.

Pu Songling - Liaozhai Zhiyi )

Mythology - Near Eastern )

Chinese Mythology )

In General )
quillori: blue-jay yuletide icon (yuletide (blue jay))
( Jan. 20th, 2012 01:35 pm)
I have done very well out of the last few Yuletides. This year I had a delightful haul of stories: rather neatly, one story per request. My assigned writer was [livejournal.com profile] kynical, who wrote me The Doom of Aratta, about the Lord of Aratta, a favourite figure of mine. Then my recipient from last year, the excellent [livejournal.com profile] lnhammer (also to be found at [personal profile] lnhammer, where I strongly encourage you to go to read his translations from the kokinshu) wrote me Green. I am still amazed that I could ask for something based on a poem of Li Shangyin's – a poem obscure even for him – and have someone write it for me. You can find translations of the poem here and here, but in any case you should consider reading Green, which stands on its own (though I can assure you it is even better if you are familiar with the poem). Then, because my good fortune knows no bounds, [livejournal.com profile] fresne wrote me Questionable N which is just exactly the sort of story I asked for, and can be read by anyone with an interest in fandom or storytelling.

This year I also wrote three stories. My main story was Far Too Many Questions, With Some Quite Dubious Answers. My recipient asked for Child's Ballads, any, with no optional details, causing me to flail around panicking with no idea what to do. (You will readily see how that is quite different from the years my recipient makes specific requests I don't want to write, and the years they make requests I want to write very much but immediately realise I'm incapable of doing justice to. These are three entirely different flavours of panicked flailing.)

Discussion of story / Complaint re difficulty of translating from a language I do not speak )

Then I wrote That Black Forest for [livejournal.com profile] kassidy62, who asked for Little Red Riding Hood and horror, and Downstream On The Memphis Ferry (Egyptian Mythology) for [personal profile] redsnake05, which, somewhat unusually for me, I enjoyed writing. It, along with last year's Dress Ye Never So Fair (also Child's Ballads and related material) and my first year Yuletideing pinch-hit Seven Songs for Isis (also Egyptian Mythology, hopefully one day to be disinterred from the old Yuletide archive, so I can perform several necessary bits of editing, including one rather important chapter title) suggest I have a talent for somewhat obscure and mildly disturbing on a very tight deadline. Whether this is a valuable or useful skill is another question.
quillori: blue-jay yuletide icon (yuletide (blue jay))
( Nov. 18th, 2011 09:46 pm)
Dear Author,

If you've offered any of these fandoms, you're obviously a person of taste and discernment, and probably didn't deserve to get stuck with my requests. I really would prefer you to write the best story you can, and one you're happy with, rather than trying to do something that doesn't suit you to fit what I asked for - so please, please do bear in mind that optional details are optional. If you have the opposite problem, and wish I'd given you more or more explicit suggestions, I'm very sorry - I was trying not to be overly prescriptive.

Mythology - Near Eastern )

Li Shang-Yin - Walls of Emerald )

One Thousand and One Nights )

In General )
quillori: Heian period illustration of a landscape (country: japan (heian landscape))
( Jan. 6th, 2011 12:04 am)
This year I had a marvellous prompt from [livejournal.com profile] lnhammer, who wanted something based on the Kokinshu. (I recommend you drop by [personal profile] lnhammer to see some of his translations from the same - his lj is for general journaling, the dw account for translations.) I fell head over heels in love with the prompt, which led to me spending most of December beating myself up for not writing something as good as it deserved. In the end, what I wrote was as much a love-letter to Kyoto as to the Kokinshu, and I was very, very relieved that my recipient, and some of his friends also, liked it - between my love of the subject, and my respect for my recipient's own writing, I knew I had an intimidatingly high standard to live up to. (I fear, incidentally, that unless you are familiar with both the city and the anthology, the story will mean nothing to you at all.)

Cut for various structural details )

This meant I had no time to spare for writing treats, but then Madness was extended till Boxing Day, so I managed to sneak in two little things after all. Caerwent (otherwise known as 'I can never think of titles') is a quick piece based on Yonec, and Dress Ye Never So Fair, 499 or 500 words (depending on when I edited it last) inspired by various versions of Child Ballad #44, with which I think I'm cautiously moderately pleased: apparently something short enough and written quickly enough can escape my normal tendency to condemn everything I write as insufficiently good; presumably even I apply lower standards to something written in an hour or so. (Well, doubtless I shall come round to hating it, to counterbalance the stories I eventually find acceptable: I was just rereading last year's story (another 'I can never think of titles' effort, and written for someone who asked for 'any' characters, with no prompt, no letter, and no mention of the subject anywhere in her journal) and discovered to my amazement that while it clearly needs two or three thousand more words, minimum, and not to have end notes that make it quite so obvious I've given up on hoping my recipient knows anything about the subject whatsoever, the writing itself, which I remembered as so embarrassingly bad I couldn't bear even to glance at it again, is actually perfectly acceptable. Still, it was a great deal more fun this year, writing for someone who clearly knew the subject very well indeed, and probably rather better than I do.)

My normal rec post for excellent stories you can appreciate even without knowing the fandom will be somewhat delayed this year: I'm busy and there are an awful lot of stories. Nonetheless, it will make an appearance, even if not for several months: after initially wondering if the standard were a bit down this year, I found a number of very good stories I shall certainly be including.
Tags:
quillori: blue-jay yuletide icon (yuletide (blue jay))
( Nov. 17th, 2010 03:34 am)
Dear Author,

If you've offered any of these fandoms, you're obviously a person of taste and discernment, and probably didn't deserve to get stuck with my requests. I really would prefer you to write the best story you can, and one you're happy with, rather than trying to do something that doesn't suit you to fit what I asked for - so please, please do bear in mind that optional details are optional. If you have the opposite problem, and wish I'd given you more or more explicit suggestions, I'm very sorry - I was trying not to be overly restrictive.

Pu Songling - Liaozhai Zhiyi )

Mythology - Near Eastern )

Meine Liebe )

Li Shang-Yin - Walls of Emerald )

In General )
quillori: Photo of an Intha fisherman on Lake Inle, Burma (yuletide)
( Jan. 1st, 2010 11:32 am)
The general standard of Yuletide stories seems to improve year on year. Stories that this year disappear into the common run would in previous years have been obvious recommendations. I'm not sure I've yet come across anything that matches the stand out bests from previous years, but then those include some of the better stories I've found anywhere online, so that is hardly a criticism.

I haven't had time to read anything like everything yet, and I generally prefer not to read everything in one fandom in a row, so if I've recced one story in a given fandom but not another equally good, it may be I just haven't read the latter yet. As always, I'm trying to concentrate on stories that are worth reading even if you aren't familiar with the fandom.

(Also, guys, come on: you see that little 'Add Comment' button, bottom right? It's fun to click it! Well, I admit it's more like hard work - I'm very bad at commenting myself, and behind even on Yuletide, for which I make a special effort. But I'm still seeing good stories with maybe one comment, which, yes, I know they were written as a gift, but every extra comment will make the writer happy, so, you know, click away.)

First, of course, I'd like to point you to the two stories written for me. A Mystery Rite of Irkalla and In the Dark House. These are both Near Eastern Mythology, and in fact both writers went for the same prompt, so they are both the Descent of Inana. This is a happy coincidence, because my interest is very much in seeing what different writers choose to make of the surviving canon, so have two such different takes on the same theme was perfect. In the Dark House is, in some ways, a very fannish version (femslash! incest!), although also interesting for its emphasis on love and pity in a myth that generally involves violence and deceit. My main story, however, is remarkable: beautifully written in verse, as though the translation of an original Sumerian text, A Mystery Rite of Irkalla is convincingly Sumerian yet with an emphasis on duality and comparison that provides an original perspective. I can't recommend it highly enough; also, I shall feel rather guilty if my brilliant yulegoat has put so much effort and care into creating something like this just for my benefit. I know that's sort of the idea, but this really does deserve a wider audience.

"What is this?" Inana asked him again, and each time he said,
"Lady, do not question the laws of the land of the dead."


Recs, recs, recs )
Tags:
quillori: Photo of an Intha fisherman on Lake Inle, Burma (yuletide)
( Jan. 1st, 2009 04:02 am)
Not only were there more stories this year than any other, the standard, always very good, is higher than ever. I know I've yet to read almost half the stories where I have some familiarity with canon, and a number of those I've already read merit rereading. However, every year there are some stories which are not only excellent in themselves but can be appreciated even by those who don't know the fandom. Unfortunately, most people don't have the time to read through countless unfamiliar stories in the hope some will make sense, so I always like to draw attention to those stories I've read which I think could be appreciated by a wider audience.

This way to the recs )
Tags:
quillori: Photo of an Intha fisherman on Lake Inle, Burma (yuletide)
( Nov. 9th, 2008 11:38 pm)
Dear Yuletide Santa,

Thank you so much for writing for me. I really will be happy with anything you've come up with, but if you're like me and prefer some prompts and general likes/dislikes, I've expanded a little on my requests below.

Meine Liebe )

Mythology - Chinese )

Petshop of Horrors )

Pu Songling - Liaozhai Zhiyi aka Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio )

In General )
Herewith are three sets of recs. The first are stories that can stand entirely on their own, no canon knowledge required. The second set can probably stand on their own, but might be better if you have at least some vague and passing acquaintance with canon. The third is just a few light-hearted pieces, for any of which you can figure out as much as you need to know from the story.

Set One )

Set Two )

Set Three )
Tags:
quillori: Photo of an Intha fisherman on Lake Inle, Burma (theme: art)
( Oct. 19th, 2007 11:25 am)
Dear Yuletide Santa,

Thank you so much for writing for me. I really will be happy with anything you've come up with, but if you want any more on what I love about the fandoms I requested or what I like to read, here it is.1

Blakes7 )

Dark Angel )

Petshop of Horrors )

In Summary )

1Although given how much I managed to fit into the requests, I would understand it if you thought you'd already heard enough from me.
.