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18 February 2012 @ 05:33 pm
Awesome Ladies Podfic Anthology II  
I recorded six short podfics for the Awesome Ladies Podfic Anthology II at halfamoon this year. Serious props are due to all the mods and betas involved in putting this thing together, and I strongly encourage all of you to set aside some time to really look at that cover art. It's amazing.

I haven't had the chance to listen to the anthology yet, but I'm so excited to see so many incredible readers voicing the work of so many amazing authors. I absolutely loved listening to last year's anthology, and I cannot wait to dive into this year's.

If you listen closely to the stories that I chose this year, you might determine: a) that I'm really into waffles, or; b) that I'm really into canons in which terrible, violent acts are inflicted on women. I guess both must be true. I love waffles and female friendship (and female more-than-friendship), but I'm also really interested in stories of survival and resilience. I love tough-minded women, and I love them all the more for their flaws, their hurts, and their humanity.

The stories are listed below. Links to the entire anthology in m4b and mp3 format are available through the main post (linked to above), as are links to all the individual mp3s. The links below are to the mp3s on box.com, where you can download or stream any of these podfics.

Pomegranate Seeds, by [personal profile] bessemerprocess
Criminal Minds - Emily Prentiss
text || mp3
When the anthology was announced, this was the first story I knew for sure I wanted to do. I like Criminal Minds, but I can't watch it very often. I find it a little too disturbing, the violence a little too intense. But when I stumbled across this fic on AO3, it struck such a deep chord I knew I had to record it. It's smart, tough Emily Prentiss reflecting on the violence against women she sees every day and placing it into the context of her experiences as a global nomad, a law enforcement professional, and a woman. I love this fic to pieces, and I was so thrilled to find the perfect excuse to record it.

Turned Me To The Sky, by igrockspock
Star Trek reboot - Gaila/Christine Chapel
text || mp3
I've had this fic on my to-record list for nearly a year. I wanted to record it for the KISSES fest at podfic_project, but the timing didn't work out and I ended up hanging onto it for a lot longer than I planned. I love Gaila and Christine in this story. There's so much context, so much subtext...both women have rich histories which include experiences of abuse, neglect, and/or inattention. They have not been loved enough, have not been appreciated nearly enough for being who they are. This is all in the background, a suggested history. The foreground is pure joy. I get warm inside just thinking about it. 

Remade, by vilakins
Bas Lag (China Mieville) - Bellis Coldwine
text || mp3
The canon for this fic is China Mieville's novel The Scar, set in his Bas Lag universe. Bellis is a richly developed character in canon, a fiercely intelligent woman who starts out bitter and isolated by her own pride, and emerges sadder, tougher, warmer, and stronger. The novel includes one of my all-time favorite lines in literature, two and a half sentences that I've seriously considered getting tattooed on my body: "Scars are not injuries...A scar is a healing. After injury, a scar is what makes you whole." Bellis in this fic is the woman made whole. She has claimed her life for herself, changing and in doing so taking ownership of her features and her name. This fic is fierce and bright and victorious. I love it a lot.

She Won't Confess, by sour_idealist
Brick - Kara
text || mp3
Brick is one of my favorite movies. I recorded a Brick podfic for last year's anthology, too, but this year I was pleased to find this little gem from Kara's POV. The film has three really interesting female characters - Emily, who is sad and manipulated and whose murder drives the plot; Laura, who is calculating and manipulative and in control of nearly everything; and Kara, who appears briefly but very memorably in just three or four scenes and steals every one of them. She's a literal drama queen, an independent player whose sphere of power and control is small but strong. This fic really captures Kara for me - like Laura, she's a skilled manipulator, but unlike Laura she knows not to overreach. You can't run the show if you reach too far and lose control. Kara kicks ass, and so does this fic.

Waffles and Lemonade, by [personal profile] terajk
Twin Peaks - Audrey Horne and Denise Bryson
text || mp3
Another canon with a plot driven by the murder of a teenage girl. Laura Palmer's death is in the background here, but the story is about female friendship. Denise Bryson is a transwoman in canon, an FBI agent who comes to Twin Peaks to investigate Agent Cooper's recent behavior. Audrey is a smart, highly capable teenager who, like many of the other women I read about for this anthology, has been under-appreciated, under-supported, and under-loved. She's very comfortable using her sexuality, but isn't really sure how to navigate human relationships without it. I love the premise of this fic - Audrey trying to figure out how to get ahold of Denise the only way she knows how, and Denise blithely beating every attempt by being straightforward, open, friendly, and kind. It's a sweet story, and very deftly written. Everything about it is just right.

and did you tell billy you loved him? did you say, 'billy, i love you?', by dollsome
Parks and Recreation - Ann Perkins/Leslie Knope
text || mp3
Parks and Rec is probably my favorite show on the air right now. I could tell you all the reasons why, but that's a post unto itself. This is the only canon I recorded for (ever?) in which no women have been folded, spindled, or mutilated. Leslie Knope is kind of my hero, and in this lovely little fic she's kind of Ann's hero, too. I love the warmth and affection between them, and Ann's growing awareness of something more. There are more waffles in this fic, and some classic Leslie chatter that I tried really hard to get right (I'm, um, not really known for being energetic and animated, in podfic or in life...), and the way Ann looks at Leslie in this fic is so sweet and so beautiful and so right. This fic makes me really happy. It was a really fun read.

It was interesting to notice the pattern in my preferences exemplified by these six podfics. I'd never really thought much about exactly how much the theme of violence against women threads through so many of my favorite shows, books, and movies. Maybe, as Emily Prentiss might point out, it's just that violence against women is ubiquitous. Maybe it's not that I like stories in which women get hurt - maybe it's that there are so few out there in which women don't get hurt. Maybe that's exactly why I'm so in love with Leslie Knope. She's smart and funny and capable, and she pursues her goals with a dogged feminism and optimism that defies you not to root for her. Don't get me wrong, I like stories in which women survive and thrive, but there's something so refreshing about a woman like Leslie, whose success story doesn't have to include a chapter in which she overcomes violence and pain. 

Anyway. These thoughts are half-formed, and need more time to gel. I'll write more about this later. I hope you like these six stories as much as I did, and I encourage you to check out the entire anthology. Awesome Ladies are awesome, indeed.