100 Demons 16
Shanghai Genshikou 上海幻視行 by Morimura Mao
--fun stuff: English aristocrats in Shanghai in 1904, a German in Italy in the 1890s, Southampton x Shakespeare OTP, and a present-day Japan where a young guy can read people's minds while they screw him. Morimura's MO consists of detailed settings, resonant plots, hints of mystery, and gratuitous/ unexplained sex thrown into the story somewhere or other. Not unlike Ze, in fact, but even more gratutous than that. Yappari I have become a Chara sort of fan: indicated off-screen thanks very much.
The Fortune of War
The Surgeon's Mate
--ever-reliable Aubrey/ Maturin. Though for someone who's become a Chara sort of fan I can't explain my misunderstanding of the end of the second volume, where Jack comes up on deck, leaving a certain couple below in the cabin, and remarks sheepishly to the captain 'They're going at it hammer and tongs. You'd think they'd been married a dozen years.' Shocked, I was, until I realized that Jack meant they were fighting like old marrieds.
The Death of Woman Wang
A Sin of Colour by Sunetra Gupta
--I'm not sure if it was intended that all the women in this should become utterly confusible one with the other, but they did. Scholars' daughters who marry into money where their natural grace and elegance and superiority is wasted. But if sensible marriages are bad, romanticism is worse: bad for men and fatal for women. Utena made the point better. Possibly because Utena didn't keep emphasizing how its protagonists are Superior, Sensitive, And Far More Clever Than You.
The Lake Ching Murders
--I remain unconvinced. (Do the Chinese in general and the Shanghainese in particular often considerr the nature of their own racism?) Not unconvinced enough not to read the sequel, but not convinced enough to buy it.
The Player's Boy
--the sequel's better: or part 2 is better, since the thing was originally written as a single book, in the days when no one believed kids would sit still for a 500 page novel. I seem to recall that 30 years ago I also thought it a little sparse and episodic and in need of more fleshing out. Someone at Yuletide wanted fic of Southampton and someone (Marlowe? not Essex, surely?) which I can't find now because last year's unfilled requests are currently inaccessible. But talking of bricks without straw: Southampton's there for a handful of pages, Marlowe's there for a handful of pages, you don't see much of them because the pov chara is eleven, and you never see the two of them together. Now tell me a story about them. If you end it with Southampton and Marlowe screwing mightily a la Shanghai Genshikou so much the