Topic: Marisa's Book Club  (Read 16309 times)

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Iced Fairy

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Marisa's Book Club
« on: March 07, 2012, 04:14:49 am »
A book without readers is kinda like a god without faith.  It just slowly vanishes away.  Fortunately you don't have to feed your books to a hellcrow to get them back.  You just need someone to sit down and read them.  Unfortunately if there's one thing everyone here is bad at, it's reading.  And especially reading and commenting.  People like Ruro, Rou or myself can occasionally browbeat or guilt someone into reading one of our stories, but even that's uncommon.  Especially for stories that are two or more years old.  Most people leave the catalog sadly untouched.

Which is why I'm using my new powers to summon up some of the older works from the vaults for people to look over.  The thread is so people can comment, critique or just chatter about the writings that are fished up.  To create a discussion area where you don't need to be worried about making it look like the story has been updated, or posting in a topic that's older then your account.  Hopefully it'll bring some more general activity to the Library as well.

For now we're going to have the featured books be offered via Librarian only.  That's to avoid everyone just talking about their own favorite stories all at once and talking past each other.  Perhaps as time continues we'll start absorbing more ideas in, though I'm stating one hard and fast rule for everyone; one must never post one's own work here.

Anyways I'd like to start this off with a short and simple story from someone who isn't as well known as a lot of the big name writers:

The Journal of Patchouli's Loyal Assistant

This work is not only one of my favorites within the library, it's one of the more unique ones.  It's a journal, entirely in the first person, and in a very unique style of prose.  I've gushed about it before, but that was over a year ago and this is where we summon up old things, so here we are.

[SPOILERS Go back and read the story first.  No seriously, it's short.]

The story is really short and simple.  Patchouli gets possessed and her assistant _______ has to free her.  It's the little details along the way that make the story, like Patchouli's antics early on, and the internal musings of _______'s true demon self.  The story is filled with little asides and comments that just make sense for the familiar of a magician in a magical land.

It also shows how bad writing practices can be turned into a good style.  The language and style Coin Spire uses is somewhat confusing, but since this is _______'s mind, the complexities and confusion becomes a study of _______ herself.

I could go on, but since this is just the start I'd like to hear some other thoughts.  Post away!

Ross

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2012, 08:56:11 pm »
Hm, so I've read that journal story thingy.  It's very nice so far.  Also:

Quote from: Iced Fairy
For now we're going to have the featured books be offered via Librarian only.
How do I know if the book is featured or not?  I've looked through a few and haven't seen anything distinctive that said that they were featured.

Thanks   :3
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Iced Fairy

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2012, 09:14:42 pm »
Right now it's just the one.  We'll roll out more as time passes.

My hope is that people would talk about specific parts of the stories that they liked.  To try to get beyond the simple "It's good" comments that, while nice, tend to drive writers insane.

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2012, 09:47:45 pm »
Alright, comments:

- First of all I like how the heroines are written. All well-intentioned, but with a habit of getting in each others' way. They're decent at heart, but stubborn and single-minded to a dangerous extent. It fits in well with how I always imagined Gensokyo handling a crisis - everyone tries to solve it at once, and then they ruin each others plans unintentionally until someone finally gets things done.

- The journal mechanic gets played with well. _______ jumps through several methods of writing her notes, from lists to scripts. The use of the long list in the third entry - with no care for flow or readability - gets across the image of a very formal, by-the-book librarian.

- Notable is how _______ deals with speech. Note that her discussions with Patchouli are written normally, but other speakers are relegated to script. When _______ takes part in these discussions, her words aren't put into the script directly - rather, she tells us roughly what she said. She puts herself and her mistress on a different level from everyone else - even Sakuya.
For added emphasis, note that the supposed heads of the house, the Scarlets, are never given any dialogue. _______ cares for Patchouli and Patchouli alone.

- The whole finale, with _______ invoking Hell to rip the goddess from her master's body, gets across another theme I see quite often in Gensokyo - gods aren't necessarily good, demons aren't necessarily evil. For example, Remilia's Scarlet Mist was just part of a selfish desire to walk around in the sun, not to wipe out all life in the country. Better examples would be the oni, who play around most of the time and don't do much harm, and the celestials who are pretty much canonically corrupt and selfish.
Hell, given that most of Gensokyo's residents are horrible monsters turned into adorable little girls, you could say this is a running theme of the entire series.

I hope that's enough critical examination to get some people talking. Anything else people particularly liked/disliked? Like I said in the story thread the tenses are a little shaky, but it was still a fun read regardless.

Ross

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2012, 11:00:47 pm »
Right now it's just the one.  We'll roll out more as time passes.

My hope is that people would talk about specific parts of the stories that they liked.  To try to get beyond the simple "It's good" comments that, while nice, tend to drive writers insane.

Oh okay.  Thank you.

Also yeah I can relate to that.  If I write something and someone just says "Wow great job!" I thank them then I annoy them until I get some specifics out of them.  'Cause that's just how I roll.   :V  I also always try to be specific and detailed when reviewing writings, music, art, etc.

Aokay well now I'll search for some stuff to buzz about here.  Writing and reading is my type of thing and honestly Patchouli's Scarlet Library is probably my favorite place on the forum   :D
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capt. h

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2012, 11:37:42 pm »
This one's a personal favorite. In spite of the brevity, the author switched up the style quite a bit from the standard reporting, sometimes using lists and sometimes quoting conversations. This, and good pacing that never dives too deep into the details while still getting across everything that needed to be said, kept me interested.

There were two parts that really stuck out at me.

The first part that really stood out was Entry 3 in the journal. It was great, and speaks for itself.

The second part I found interesting was in Entry 8. The part where _______ ripped open the gates of hell. I very much enjoy when writers give form to entities like hell, and especially when they make those entities far grander than any that exists in reality. I love stories that present a world grander than reality, and I would be interested in comparing how this author presented openning hell to how other authors present, well, anything with machinations beyond mortal comprehension.

Esifex

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2012, 12:44:44 am »
I personally liked how the story never actually comes out and gives ________ a name. Remember, Koakuma never actually got a proper name in EoSD - just a title, 'little devil'. Nice nod to canon there.

Ibaraki Ibuki

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2012, 12:48:31 am »
I agree with Rou in that all the characters are well written.  What intrigued me the most was how closely Spire's characters resembled their "canon" versions; there were quite a few moments where I said to myself "that's exactly the sort of thing she'd do/say", which I guess would explain why it really does feel as if we're actually observing the girls resolve an incident.
Some of Master's sayings:
Nothing happened, but that's still an extra.
Yesterday was not special; tomorrow will be.
Strange and romantic is the fate.

Iced Fairy

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2012, 06:58:18 pm »
Quote
For added emphasis, note that the supposed heads of the house, the Scarlets, are never given any dialogue. _______ cares for Patchouli and Patchouli alone.
An interesting point.  One I missed but that actually does impact the story a lot.

Admittedly that's the one thing I disliked about the fic.  Remilia and Sakuya's lack of involvement seemed strange.  I could accept them being useless but totally disinterested not as much.  I try to mentally write it off as _______ just not speaking to them and vise versa.

capt. h

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2012, 02:26:41 am »
Now that you mention it, you're right. Those two are oddly absent. Course, I don't really like Sakuya or Remilia, and I don't think I would have liked the story as much if they had a stronger presense, but that's more because of my personal prerefences than anything.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2012, 08:20:11 pm by Takamachi Ruroha »

Ibaraki Ibuki

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2012, 11:10:18 pm »
Considering Remilia and Patchouli are close friends, it is weird that Remilia seems so passive regarding Patchy's disappearance and strange behavior. It could be that Remilia and Sakuya are trying to figure the mystery out on their own, but you'd think they could have asked ____________ to help them. (Having Remi and/or Sakuya meet up with Marisa and co. to resolve the incident could help fix this plot hole.)

Off-topic question: should this topic be stickyed? I feel this thread is important enough to deserve it.
Some of Master's sayings:
Nothing happened, but that's still an extra.
Yesterday was not special; tomorrow will be.
Strange and romantic is the fate.

Esifex

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2012, 06:21:05 am »
Off-topic question: should this topic be stickyed? I feel this thread is important enough to deserve it.

It was always meant to be stickied, yes, but for some reason us Librarians lost the ability to sticky within PSL. As you can see, that has been remedied!

We're now going to go ahead and move on to our next story. I present to you~

Amor Fati
By Serp

While this story is a retelling of EoSD, it is fantastic. Take Touhou, sprinkle in a bit of sci-fi, a dash of sci-fact (incredible attention to detail. Cross-check it all, I dare you!), and a heaping helping of incredibly awesome action, and serve with a side of fascinating trivia after each chapter, and you have an incredible romp through a familiar story that's still original and clever enough to grip you for the entire ride.

I'm going to open up by pointing out just how impressed I was by the level of detail put into the science. Red and blue-shifting the light around Sakuya's time manipulation, distorting signal speed because of the same, and the technology present throughout the story was more than enough to tickle my geek side.

Serp

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2012, 09:29:17 pm »
Ahahah, it's both flattering and surprising to see that story brought up again like this.  Though I suppose I should warn that it's technically unfinished, as I had intended at least one more post for the story's denouement.  It's not a proper retelling without the hero and villain having their post-fight tea party, after all.  And I also have some notes written for a second chapter ("Ghost in the Machine") that would give Perfect Cherry Blossom the same treatment.  But if the story manages to be entertaining enough to merit your recommendation without all that, then I'm happy.
[15:13] <Sana> >:<

Esifex

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2012, 09:42:32 pm »
...Though I suppose I should warn that it's technically unfinished, as I had intended at least one more post for the story's denouement.

Oh, really? :3

And I also have some notes written for a second chapter ("Ghost in the Machine") that would give Perfect Cherry Blossom the same treatment.

OH, REALLY? :3
Dude that'd be awesome. You're an excellent writer, I'd love to see more from you.

capt. h

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2012, 11:39:48 pm »
So far, so good, but I do think the story needs an edit. The light blue text on light blue background is hard to read, probably a remnant from before the forum changed colors.

EDIT: Make that impossible to read. I just noticed post 11, and the text is almost identical to the background. I should also mension that 30g's is lethal, but that's trivial. Oh, you handled that too. Nevermind.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2012, 11:48:40 pm by capt. h »

Iced Fairy

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2012, 10:20:13 pm »
Ah yes.  This here is an excellent display on how to do a retelling.  It doesn't just play through the games with "improved" dialogue, it presents a different setting and look at the world.  It's also a great way of doing a sci fi story.  Explain everything, but don't give away that you're explaining everything so no one questions the details.

The different combat styles used were quite fun as well.  A little brutal for my sensibilities, but it all worked out in the end.  You could guess how things would play out, but were never certain.

Ibaraki Ibuki

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2012, 04:06:15 am »
Overall, this is a great retelling of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil. I am amazed over how well you translated the magical elements of the games into a sci-fi universe. I also found Remilia's back story very compelling.
I do find it weird how the tone became much more serious and darker after the battle with Patchouli, especially when considering the fight with Patchouli ends on a humorously lighthearted note. Fortunately, the story ended up going in a direction I liked.

It's not a proper retelling without the hero and villain having their post-fight tea party, after all.
...
But if the story manages to be entertaining enough to merit your recommendation without all that, then I'm happy.
The story is so good I forgot there was supposed to be tea party at the end.  :derp:

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to the final chapter of this fic, assuming Serp decides to write it, though I must say the bar is set pretty high.
Some of Master's sayings:
Nothing happened, but that's still an extra.
Yesterday was not special; tomorrow will be.
Strange and romantic is the fate.

Esifex

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2012, 07:14:26 am »
RE: lighthearted to sinister

Correct me if I'm worng but in EoSD, doesn't the game immediately start on Sakuya's stage on higher difficulties, and end at Patchouli on Easy?

If so, very nice - and subtle - use of that fact in the story, as well.

Dead Princess Sakana

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2012, 07:33:05 am »
Correct me if I'm worng but in EoSD, doesn't the game immediately start on Sakuya's stage on higher difficulties, and end at Patchouli on Easy?
Sure, I'll correct you: Wrong on both counts. EoSD Easy ends after Stage 5, Sakuya's fight, and only Normal and upwards have Stage 6 after that, after you played all of the other stages from Stage 1 onward of course.

Ibaraki Ibuki

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2012, 03:42:10 pm »
RE: lighthearted to sinister

Correct me if I'm wrong but in EoSD, doesn't the game immediately start on Sakuya's stage on higher difficulties, and end at Patchouli on Easy?

If so, very nice - and subtle - use of that fact in the story, as well.
EoSD would be a lot easier if you were right.  :D Unfortunately, that's not the case (for the reasons given in Sakana's post).
But I imagine that in most of the games, including EoSD, stage 4 or stage 5 is the point where the game really starts to become tough. So in that respect it would be a pretty subtle and brilliant analogy.
Some of Master's sayings:
Nothing happened, but that's still an extra.
Yesterday was not special; tomorrow will be.
Strange and romantic is the fate.

Von Stein

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #20 on: May 10, 2012, 03:12:31 am »
Now that I hopefully smacked Iced back into action...

The Journal of Patchouli's Loyal Assistant

I  am not gonna throw around a bunch of writing techno babble for the simple reason that I know squat about that.
I can say that I really enjoyed reading it, the style used is interesting and makes it feel different, and thus interesting. I did enjoy the portrayal of all the characters quite a bit and, as was mentioned before found them very much in line with canon.
There were only two things I was not the biggest fan off. The aforementioned lackluster attitude of Sakuya and Remilia after a certain point, which could be however cases of their outward appearances not betraying their true feelings, what with Sakuya retaining her calm exterior as best she can (Barring seeing Marisa in Patchu's clothes... but I would probably have laughed too) and Remilia probably having a plan going on behind the scenes and ready to spring a trap (Which probably got read wrong by Reimu and turned to ash.) All in all, understandable, but it felt off, compared to the rest.
The other thing I found... off, was the pacing in the end, specifically the pacing of the actual resolution... It went by too quick I think. It's definitely just my own personal preference in the guise of gut feelings, but I felt it was too quick for story purposes. Then again, it did manage to show off a certain blank named entity's power over even something like a so-called Goddess. I did very much enjoy the way the actual end played out so... it felt nice.

Also while I was typing this BS up I had a moment of "Oh Snap" as I wrapped my brain around the blanking out of the protagonist's name. I don't think it had anything to do with obscuring the identity of the character from the reader... but from the character herself. I remember coming across a few stories which played with the concept of names, in particular the power that lies within knowing an entity's true name. The main character's name is obscured because she cannot remember her true name, even if somebody told her to her face, as part of the summoning magic. Only Patchouli knows it at the moment, and thus can hold sway over her. As a side note, after having been released from Patchouli's control, there are no more blank lines. (No name mentioned either.) I am not sure if this was the intention, but it fits. It just fits.

Overall, despite the stuff I wrote I found were off, I still enjoyed it through and through.

On to Serp's travesty.

Amor Fati

****!

**** you in the ***, you ************* son of a ***********, ********** clone of your worthless ******* self!

Why it over already?! T_T
I cry now! T_T

But seriously, holy cannelloni, that was an interest adaption.

I really love that even in this setting, if something makes no sense, and somebody is about to ask what the hell's going on with this... the best answer is still "Yukari. She did it." Makes you wonder if Yukari in this setting is our Yukari... (Or perhaps a reality warping Youkai created within universe)

I felt the description of Reimu's field uniform a bit odd, being basically just Reimu's normal outfit...but... err... I have a sneaking suspicion the explanation involves the color purple...

My only actual beef with this story is the obvious. I miss the tea party and extra stage. T_T
But I understand that (Having like five or so started stories here myself) and won't cause an actual ruckus about it. Thank you for showing me a good time with that story.

Heh, she didn't like it or anything... so why'd she use it to begin with. XD

PS: I'm back.

PPS: Sorry if this sounds like incoherent rambling to anybody, it somehow manages to make sense in my head.

Can't think of a good signature.
More lilies maybe?

Iced Fairy

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #21 on: May 10, 2012, 03:55:44 am »
Sorry this took a while.  It's much harder then I thought to find completed stories who aren't by big name people.  I think after the third I may drop this prohibition, and think up some new rules for adding.  However, before I start playing with my criterion I'll toss up this little short by Himiko.  Himiko's pretty solid in slice of life, and she gets some of the fundamentals of the genre in here.  She lets the story flow on its own, she hints at a deeper story and she has humorous moments to keep the story going.  I think she probably could use a few more jokes, and a slightly stronger narrative, but all in all it's a fine time passer, as are a lot of her other shorts.

Ibaraki Ibuki

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2012, 04:38:37 am »
Trying to revive this thread... (Although is there a point to doing so if thread is sticky? Hmmmmm....) 

Moving on to the fic: I should admit I do tend to like slice-of-life stories.  There were enough "random" details to gave the fic an atomosphere and keep me interested in the story. The humor was pretty light, though I'm not sure whether there should be more jokes and such; I'm not sure if this story should also be a comedy.  If more jokes can be written in, I'd suggest including those in the scene where they go to Bhava-Agra.  In retrospect, that part seemed like a lost opportunity for some casual or witty dialogue.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2012, 05:42:25 am by Ibaraki Ibuki »
Some of Master's sayings:
Nothing happened, but that's still an extra.
Yesterday was not special; tomorrow will be.
Strange and romantic is the fate.

Chaore

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #23 on: June 02, 2012, 03:15:12 am »
INTERSTELLAR INVISIBLE RABBIT LIBRARIAN REPORTING FOR DUTY.

What? I'm supposed to be non-existent? Don't be silly, ever since the librarian reboot hit I'm simply an alien with invisibility. I'm also only useful for being a damsel in distress.

...

come to think of it, this reboot kind of sucks ;w;

However, I've still got the same librarian touch, so today I bring to you another fine piece of literature for your viewing pleasure!

A MURDER MYSTERY.

This is a rather old piece by Sakana but it really shows off what I like when he writes 'librarian' pieces which is mostly how he makes each character both distinctly who they are and their own character. It's also an excellent piece of mystery and keeps you wanting to read the full way through. Unfortunately, it's not finished. Which means that I have to go bother him to finish it!

In the mean time, I really reccomend giving it a read even if he never finished it. It's a great piece.

Dead Princess Sakana

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2012, 04:54:13 am »
Which means that I have to go bother him to finish it!
Well, looks like I have to now!

Dead Princess Sakana

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #25 on: June 19, 2012, 04:00:41 pm »
Alright, since I was more or less tagged by Chao here, it's my turn to throw something into the ring.

I had to think quite a bit about stories I have read here and which one I think deserves some coverage, and I have decided on one that received quite some attention when it was current and that I think will be a nice read for everyone that hasn't seen it before:

Day Planners

What makes this story stand out is, first of all, it's style. As the title implies, the whole "story" consists of the day planners of different Touhou characters, in the form of checklists.
It's not just the individual planners that are fun to read though, because all the events from the checklists can be pieced together into a coherent narrative.

A bonus (or malus, depending on how you see it), is that due to the style the whole story can be read pretty quickly, making it a nice choice for a lazy afternoon with a bit of free time~

Kero-chan

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #26 on: April 14, 2013, 09:17:19 am »
Don't you mean ''Marisa's Stolen book club''? :P
I wonder if Sanae has my Ohagi ready...
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Evil_Nazgul0616

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Re: Marisa's Book Club
« Reply #27 on: May 31, 2013, 11:57:06 pm »
Don't you mean ''Marisa's Stolen book club''? :P

hahahahahaha!
*ahem*
Even though I got a good laugh out of that I would like to point out that I think what you posted is derailing the topic a bit... I think I made it worse by pointing out that derailment so I'll just leave it to someone else to put this topic back on track (no pun intended).
« Last Edit: June 01, 2013, 12:03:52 am by Evil_Nazgul0616 »
 

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