A Story About a Review About Blood of Olympus, Plus the Review

A few weeks ago I was having a day of a sort of freelancer sports day, which involves logging into a load of freelancer websites and applying for as many writing or blogging briefs as possible. Usually I shy away from product review articles, because I like Indifferent Ignorance to be my own space, and because I’m terrified I’ll find myself in Private Eye’s Street of Shame column, accidentally supporting a company that promotes the Westboro Baptists or something. A few weeks ago, though, there was a brief open to review Blood of Olympus, and to get a free hardback copy of the novel.

‘Twas like Athena herself was smiling upon me.

I’d worked out, see, that I could afford either the physical or Kindle version of the novel, but probably not both – and if I ordered the physical, I wouldn’t get it until after I came home from Greece. But the gods had spoken. Or the Internet had, anyway. I applied for the brief and got it (first time ever that’s happened, although the application was 99% me gushing about how I was planning on doing a post on the book anyway).

Since I’ve now downloaded, read and had a little dance about the novel, I reckon I’d better make good on my contract. Here is the advert, which I was told to include…

…and here is the link to purchase it on Amazon. Don’t forget that your local bookshop will almost definitely contain a copy, since Uncle Rick is hot stuff in the teenage section.

Review Time

  It’s probably the best thing I’ve picked up in the last six months, and I recently started The Da Vinci Code. For what it’s worth, I reckon Uncle Rick’s writing is more engaging, and his characters are more interesting. That said, I’ve known most of them for nine other books. Dan Brown might go into more detail about history and god stuff, but Rick definitely has the edge on toilet humour – although there was a fun crossover when they both mentioned the term Pontifex, which I believe is the Pope’s Twitter handle.

In terms of the novel’s characters, some of which I care about more than I do people I actually know, most of them get what they deserve. The rest of their lives aren’t written out in a prologue, but there’s enough there that Uncle Rick could do short stories or a miniseries if he wanted (and regardless of whether he does or not, fan fiction writers will probably never be bored again). There are parts I want to read over and over and it’ll probably take another read before everything settles into my head – but when I finished it, I did not throw my Kindle across the room, which was my instinct at the end of Mark of Athena. There are no huge cliffhangers, at least not to the point where I want to march up to Uncle Rick and bop him on the nose. I’d love to pick his brain about the novel and I’d love to read short stories about certain characters more, but I’m also intrigued to see his next work. It was a solid end to two huge, detailed series, but most of all I’m jazzed that there are children reading them who have characters and plots to which they can genuinely, clearly relate. Not bad for a story about the pagan gods, huh.

I guess none of that made much sense unless you’ve read the book. Go and do it. Go.

Competition Time

  Oh, didn’t I mention that before? Well, snowflakes, the people who listed the brief also asked if reviewers would like to host a competition to win a hard copy of the book. Course I would, I said, I love my wonderful fellow readers. Apart from the shitheads who post spoilers, anyway.

So if you’d like to enter a competition to win a copy of the Blood of Olympus, please leave a review on this very site with a haiku stating what you think of people who post book spoilers online. Nothing too gross please, I’m in a good mood. But gross enough that I think ‘darling, you deserve to work in the Fields of Punishment’. One haiku per bitter person, please, and be don’t forget to include an email address. Aim to have it done by Monday 20th and I’ll pick my favourite and post the winner by Saturday 25th. The dudes who ran the brief will send you the copy directly, which is good because I’m not home for another three weeks.

Happy poetry-ing!

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A Quick Question About Racism

This time in a week, my office won’t be my bedroom but will be my balcony, or a local restaurant, or… my bedroom (I’m staying in a studio flat and would put money on having exactly the same set-up as I do now, except with a closer bathroom). I was going to write a post just gloating about that, but then I went on Tumblr…

I’ve been treating the site gingerly since Uncle Rick posted about Blood of Olympus spoilers, so I glanced down the page as edgy as Hermione when she realised the Basilisk was in the pipes and saw this:

Racism on Tumblr

It might have been just me and a couple of inspirational billboard writers who thought this, but I was aware from a pretty young age that racism is learnt. One is not born as racist any more than one is born believing in God or born thinking Saturday night TV is occasionally contrived. When we first spill out into the world, we have no concept of anything. Then we are taught things that the people raising us think. We learn theism or racism or TV opinions as we grow, either by believing other people or thinking about things then coming to our own conclusions. Then we say what we think to our sprogs or students or blog readers.

That’s probably how most ideals have survived. You know, Mr Caveman Sr. realised that fire is useful but hurts if touched, and he taught Mr Caveman Jr., who taught Miss Cavewoman. Over the street, Mr and Mrs Cave were learning the same thing and told Baby Cave Kid as well.

Haha, baby cavepeople. (Alternatively, as Jacki pointed out, Ms or Mrs or even Miss Cavewoman may have discovered fire. I bet it was Village Idiot Caveperson who twigged that it hurt. Unfortunately – or luckily for this analogy – we may never know.)

My point is, lots of us are taught racism. I was. Most of us are taught sexism as well (hey, I wrote about this last week!). My parents were raised disliking Germans because their parents sat through the Blitz. Back when slavery and colonialism was a thing, most white people were raised to consider all non-white people to be inferior. Most non-white people were then raised to think that all white people were racists, and back then they were almost definitely right.

But it’s 2014, snowflakes. We’ve all been raised in part by racist, sexist, homophobic people – and we’ve also been taught by intelligent people that racism, sexism and homophobia (plus all the other -isms) is fucking stupid. Some of us have weighed up the evidence and concluded, independently, that racism, sexism and homophobia (plus all the other -isms) is fucking stupid.

So is the above Tumblr post actually just as racist, narrow-minded and indifferently ignorant towards white people as some white people are towards non-white people? Does anyone else get really upset by any mention of new book spoilers? Should I just stop using social media completely if it continues to find new ways to piss me off?

Well, I know the answer to one of those questions at least!

Tuesday is Okay Today.

Darlings, it’s Tuesday. Tuesday is normally a nondescript day. The novelty of a new week has worn off but next weekend is but a pipe dream.

Not today.

Today is the 2000th anniversary of the death of the bloke who founded the Roman Empire.

Cool huh.

Don’t worry if you don’t much understand the whole Roman Empire/Republic of Rome shebang – just watch the entire Star Wars series in story order (not order in which they were made. I know that means starting off with Jar Jar Binks but that’s the price of education I’m afraid). Alternatively you could read the Heroes of Olympus series, which explains things pretty well (again, I recommend starting with Percy Jackson and the Olympians so you have a clue who all the characters are. They’re short, it’ll take a weekend tops).

Speaking of old Seaweed Brain – why Francesca, how did you make that connection? – Uncle Rick’s newest piece, Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods, is out in the US today. The English one is out already but has been ignored by me in the shops because the US is the only version with John Rocco’s art and I’d rather save for the extortionate shipping and get a cute cover plus illustrations than blow the last of my Waterstones cards on the ugly one.

Don’t judge a book by its cover, psh.

Speaking of significant dates.

31st October is kind of a big deal this year, because – as well as being Frank Iero’s 33rd birthday – it marks five years of this place being open for business.

Five years.

You know a lot of marriages don’t last that long? I’m going to be cracking out the decent booze to celebrate. Only joking, I’ll probably reminisce about luminous green font and wonder where the hell my life went.

But seriously, I do kind of want to celebrate. The average life expectancy for a blog is three-to-six months, so these bigger landmarks should probably be shouted from the rooftops.

From shitshilarious.tumblr.com
From shitshilarious.tumblr.com

I’m just not sure how. I mean, in an ideal world I would have an Indifferent Ignorance t-shirt (or more specifically, many t-shirts which you guys would also have) or cute yet punk rock badges. But the world ain’t ideal so until 500 people comment every week I’m going to presume I’ve not got an audience big enough to viably produce ‘stuff’.

But I really do want to do something.

Maybe a zine of my blogging pearls of wisdom? A video blog (seems redundant)? A giveaway of… short stories?

Maybe just a collection of my five favourite GIFs.

Indifferent Ignorance Awards 2013

They aren’t in June 2014!

Book of the Year

This one was tough… A Thousand Splendid Suns, We Need to Talk About Kevin, my John’s Gospel commentary by AM Hunter…

No really, you should compare Hunter to some of the others. Little tip, scholars: when it comes to sentences, less is almost always more. That aside, I think Uncle Rick gets the prize. House of Hades is brilliant and perfect and yes aimed at twelve-year-olds but let’s face it, people, children’s books are usually better than adult ones. Harry Potter, Mog the Forgetful Cat, etc. Oh Uncle Rick, teach me your secrets.

Album of the Year

How I Learned to Stop Giving a Shit and Love Mindless Self Indulgence, by Mindless Self Indulgence. I paid for the album, I listen to the album. It is a piece of genius. That is all.

New Favourite Website of the Year

Hmm. I’ve discovered Vice, a news magazine (although someone online pointed out that its narrative voice is disturbingly similar to that of the Daily Mail, which I must say has put me off a bit), Effing Dykes, a queer blog (and so genuinely not safe for work that I’ve not quite had the courage to devote an entire post to it yet) and Tumblr. Okay so I already knew Tumblr, but I joined because it made it easy to follow nice art. That and a deep desire to infiltrate the world’s bitchiest blogging network from within.

New Favourite Artist of the Year

Viria. Her art is beautiful. Ahhh. Her work is set as my phone and iPad background. The whole Tumblr thing was also induced by Burdge, Andy and Minuiko.

Old Favourite Artist of the Year

Ruby. She made this into an illustrated story for my birthday. The individual pictures are amongst others here (I’m hoarding the finished product but don’t worry we’ve decided if all else fails we’ll write children’s books so you’ll be able to get both our work in one book. Cool, huh?).

Most Family Member-Like Famous Person on Twitter

I actually can’t decide between Uncle Rick the Troll Queen or Uncle Gerard the MCRmy’s Therapist. Genuinely, the jury’s out. Let me know your thoughts (the best Twitter moment was when someone Tweeted Gerard the Russian Mark of Athena cover, on which Percy bears a striking resemblance to G. Aha).

Most Depressing Internet-Based Phenomena

The title’s probably a misnomer because it doesn’t involve idiots talking shit behind the safety of a computer screen (that comes later!). Anyway: those of you into the whole Percy Jackson thing might remember this:

'Putting the Fun Back In Funeral'

I know, it’s incredibly clever. I do others like it. It was inspired by one of Viria’s pieces – the one set as my phone background; I had the idea going up the stairs which was interesting. I originally put text on her drawing. Quite a while after I published the poster, I posted the bootlegged one on Tumblr:

Bootlegging Viria
Drawing by Viria

I wonder which has had the better reception.

Hm.

Indeed.

It’s a good thing I chose an artist I really love or I might have become bitter.

Live Show of the Year

I saw Jesus Christ Superstar, MSI, a ‘revue’ at school in which my friend Sarah was splendid as a 1920s hockey player, my year’s pantomime-which-I-sort-of-helped-write, an actual pantomime, an interview between two of the best children’s authors around today and a poetry reading by the bloke off Homeland and Narcissa Malfoy.. But I think my favourite live band (discounting MCR because it’s MCR) is an ever-changing group of part-time musicians who play in a restaurant I like in Greece. I understand 10% of the lyrics, make eye contact 0.001% of the times I walk past and have been known to sing along to songs that are the Mediterranean’s version of Mindless. But it’s nice, and even if I found a YouTube clip (creepy as I’m there a lot) it wouldn’t quite convey the atmosphere, if you know what I mean.

Insult of the Year

“You’re a doody head.” Enough said.

Happy Moment of the Year

When I remember it’s not June and Donnie’s still here. I like Don and Fred better than I like most things, no offense, and they are my friends. It’s like having human friends but the dynamics are different – humans tend to be more forward about nicking your food. Get a pet, seriously. Unless you are incapable of looking after one due to a) lack of money, space or permission (volunteer somewhere instead), b) lack of time or motivation or c) aversion to pets. You know who you are. Yes, I’m including those of you who get pets because you think it’ll be fun or make you look good. At times, e.g. in a field in December, it will do neither. But then they look up at you, covered in slime, and you think “I love you little dog. Now let’s go home and hope we never have to leave the house again.”

Indifferent Ignorance Commenter of the Year

Jacki, whose wise words you will find if you scroll down a few posts. Getting people to comment on work is like pulling teeth (remind me that I have a piece of work about that to show you), yet is the best way of differentiating readers from spam-bots and ‘glancers’ – people who have a click and a scroll then go somewhere else. But it’s like being the first person to take food from a buffet: no one wants to be that person, though once someone has taken the leap they’re comfortable joining the queue. Weird. Anyway, Jacki comments a lot and for that I am grateful. Please accept this garbled post as a token of my appreciation. Ta.

Indifferent Ignorance Homophobic Dick Award

Maria suggested this category and I love it. Who to choose? Tony Abbot the Australian Prime Minister, who revoked equal marriage rights after people had got married? The guy whose work I heartily abused when Tom Daley came out? The parents of a child I saw a few years ago who had dressed their eight-year-old in a t-shirt with an arrow saying “I think he’s gay!”? People who stopped reading – or stopped their children reading – Heroes of Olympus when they found out about Nico?

Can’t choose, man.

Indifferent Ignorance Ignorant Fuck Award

Matt Forney of I-only-screw-insecure-women-wait-that’s-all-of-them fame infamy arseholery.

Arseholery. Is that a thing? It should be.

His site used to have a thing where sites that had discussed the post were lined underneath and the one I did was there. I guess too many people were discussing the arseholery though because the layout’s changed…

Okay I think that’s everything I said I’d put in. If I’ve forgotten something or someone please let me know.

That’s called asking for a comment, ladies and gents.

I hope 2013 was as happy and safe as everyone wished it to be; if it wasn’t then I wish you happiness and safety for 2014. Even you with the pet you shouldn’t have bought, reading Forney and nodding in agreement.

Maybe not but I’ve been on a lot of cold medicine and perhaps the Christmas spirit of forgiveness is shining through.

Ha ha.

Happy 2014 snowflakes!

This Post Contains the Best Thing I’ve Ever Made.

Working on the Indifferent Ignorance Awards because 2014 is horribly close (I always hate the imminent year, like it’s bullying the current one or something) and I’m not sure what the ‘novelty’ categories should be. I mean, I’m thinking that I should get either the best friend ever award, or best card ever award, but I think in the spirit of democracy you guys should nominate me.

Via Chloe
The Outside
The Inside
The Inside

From Chloe’s Tumblr. This is probably a good time to mention that I also have a Tumblr. I’m mostly telling you because if anyone stumbles across it and is all “Francesca y u no tell”, you’ll know my answer – you use phrases like “y u no tell”. Plus it’s a good way of keeping track of artists I like and is a nice forum to test-drive possible future work (as well as being somewhere for me to vomit my love for various things, which I will continue to do here but with more emphasis on making sense). I’m not abandoning you, little blog. I just sometimes need somewhere to express my inner book-based feelings. Oh sod it.

This song is beautiful and perfect.

This song is if Rick Riordan gave certain people a glimpse of happiness.

This lady’s art will one day kill me. Look at it. Look.

 

It’s, Like, a Musical, About, Like, God. Or Something.

This has been a week of mythology.

School has been hard lately and I’ve had to be careful about my arm so when Waterstones outdid themselves and delivered House of Hades a day before its official release, I spent most of the afternoon reading (it counts as independent study for Latin, yes?).

Uncle Rick, you are a genius. A trolling, cliffhanger-creating genius. Between Annabeth, Piper, Hazel, Reyna and Hermione Granger, I don’t know how young girls even consider looking up to bikini-clad airheads. I even warmed to Jason. I love Bob too – and Nico… was Nico always Nico or…?

Argh.

Last night (well ‘tonight’ in terms of writing this because I’m bored on the train) I saw Jesus Christ Superstar at the O2. Before I start chatting let me get one thing clear:

I like Jesus. I am also, until further notice, an atheist (or agnostic if I’ve not watched the news). I also like politics and a good theatrical rock show.

Jesus Christ Superstar is a secular-theatrical-colourful-rock ‘n’ roll-interpretation of the Passion of the Christ and I love it. C’mon, man, there’s sparkles and dancing girls and everyone’s favourite atheist comic musician and did I mention it’s just as relevant now as it was in 1973 as it was in 90AD when John wrote his gospel?

Yep, I’m calling a trip to London Religious Studies work. Anyway. The centrum of the matter is that you don’t have to like ITV to be grateful that they found a dude who can sing like this. You don’t have to believe in the proposed divinity of a story to learn from it and if you wear your second-highest heels to London then your feet will hate you the next day.

Hallelujah!

Yesterday’s version of Gethsemane was better than that, by the way. As in, my ears hurt it was so good. Ah. I’m off to write about the downsides of globalisation. Do you think I could get this in there somewhere?

ROME LIES 'JCS' Mug

Spring Cleaning in Autumn

It’s Sunday, which means that I’m sitting here in a relatively clean room (relative to what it was like yesterday anyway) with a now-empty cup of tea and a planner containing ideas for projects and blogs whichwillonedaygetfinishedIswear.

Hopefully.

Actually I’m more interested in books than blogs at the moment: House of Hades is out in a just over a week! Those of you who read The Mark of Athena know how big a deal the new book is after That Cliff-Hanger, and I’m going to pre-order it right after I’ve done my ironing and watched Strictly.

Reading that back, I sound like both a pre-teen and middle-aged lady in one sentence. I’m not quite either, but whatever… That said, I am going to watch a musical about Jesus in a couple of weeks – does that add to my mental age or just challenge my status as a not-stereotypically gay man?

Okay, I have no idea what I’m talking about now. Just promise me that you won’t tell me what happens! In House of Hades, not Jesus Christ Superstar. It’s okay, I know how that ends, and the best way to describe my emotions about that is this: 😦

As I’m sure we all feel.

Anyway, I’ve been working out blogs to do in the near-ish future and I was thinking of uploading the pictures from the Morocco Diary? Or some stupid pictures from last year that never quite made it into AS Standards? Or something new entirely?

Let me know, people, since you’re the ones who have to read the verbal vomit I come up with!

Six Degrees of My Headache

I thought I should let you know that recently I’ve been rereading and discovering the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus novels respectively, and that earlier I had a boogie to Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners, which featured in a film called The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which starred Logan Lerman, who also had the lead role in the film version of Percy Jackson and the Lighting Thief, and Emma Watson, who played Hermione in Harry Potter, a series to which the Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus stories are compared, because they both have roots in Greek mythology, which obviously means Rick Riordan’s been nicking ideas off JK Rowling.

I hope that knowledge made your head hurt as much as it has mine. Let’s be infinite.