siberian prison

Light in Darkness

Anon request: Still loving all the Vlad fics btw! <3. Imagine being woken up at night by his screaming, because he’s having nightmares from the torture camp. And you get to calm him down from it.

Вы не можете меня сломать.

You wake up with a start, unnerved by the rasping tone of your still-sleeping boyfriend. You were used to Vladimir’s mumbled sleep talking––it could even be cute at times; when you’d hear your murmured name and you’d tease him about it when he woke up.

But this isn’t like that. This sounded panicked, pleading––terrified. You sit up and moved closer to him, unnerved as you notice Vladimir’s shoulders shaking slightly; the pain that reads plainly on his scarred face. This isn’t normal.

“Пожалуйста, прекратите причинять ей боль, прекратить причинять ей боль, сделать ее не больно, мне так жаль!”

“Volodya?” You whisper concernedly, hesitantly placing your hand on his shoulder. You feel panic as well––you’ve never seen this happen to him before.

Your heart almost leaps out of your chest as he suddenly bolts upright, a tortured scream echoing around your bedroom and sending fear flooding through you:

Vladimir’s tattooed chest is heaving, his blue eyes wide and frantic before they rest on your wide-eyed countenance.

His mouth still agape as his breath comes in short spurts, he murmurs thickly; pulling you into his arms before you can speak.


Keep reading

Last art for the year, posting it while I can.

A small sketchy art thing of TWS in the snow I did yesterday/today.
Late last night I found a movie on TV about this bunch of prisoners that managed to escape a Siberian prison camp thing in WWII. And then I had a what if thought that the Russian Hydra gave an early Winter Soldier trial run missions hunting down any escapees.

Legends of Tomorrow (Unofficial) Synopsis

Legends of Tomorrow is about Len and his Crime Husband ™ Mick galavanting across space and time and adopting orphans along the way – orphans like The Purest Cinnamon Roll aka Jefferson ‘Jax’ Jackson, and The Slightly Overtoasted Angry Cinnamon Toast aka Sara Lance, along with the Weird Uncle Martin Stein (don’t drink anything he hands you). Together, the team gets into such hijinx as setting off nuclear bombs, spending a little vacation time in a Siberian prison, and breaking into the pentagon (their smoothest operation yet). As unofficial time cops, they try to save history while running from the more official time cops who actually do their job and don’t blow things up, all while slowly trying to work on their marital discord as Crime Husbands.


“I’m not going to be as easy to get rid of as Riley, okay?  I know you’re smart and all, but ‘group project’ means we have to try to work together.”

“Really, it’s fine.  I can handle it.  I guarantee that you’ll get at least a ‘B’.”

“Look, everyone knows what happened with your family.  Actually, I’m wrong, nobody knows the whole story, but they know enough to entertain themselves with gossip.  What I know is that everyone carries some sadness with them and I for one don’t let mine control my life.”

“What happened to you?  What sadness could you possibly be dealing with?”

“Maybe I’ll tell you some day.  Right now we have a project to do.”

“Ok.  Then I need you to research conditions in 1800s Siberian prison camps.”

“On it.”

Count to ten when a plane goes down...

Just a little under 31 years ago, I played a key role in a conspiracy theory that grew up around a passenger plane downed by a Russian missile.  Trust me, I did not mean to be involved. 

On September 1, 1983, Korean Airlines flight 007, a Boeing 747 with 269 passengers, was shot down over the Sea of Japan.  At about 6am that morning, I arrived at my summer job at the American Embassy in Tokyo where my task was usually to start up the computer which had been turned off over night.  But on this morning, I realized the system was already engaged and that a surprisingly large number of workstations had been left on over night. While rare, I had seen this pattern before when a Washington deadline for information was looming.

Not long after I arrived in my office, I received a call from a secretary in the Agriculture Department who liked to play a computer game before her workday started.  Her favorite game had a bug that regularly froze her workstation.  This was the “bad old days” of computers and the only way to reset her station was from my central console. 

On this day, I highlighted her workstation and hit the F6 key to reset.  But my screen went temporarily black and then seemed to be starting again.  I realized that I had mistakenly hit F7 and reset all the workstations in the embassy.   This realization didn’t bother me much, because no one except the Agriculture section secretary was usually on the computer system this early in the morning.

But then all hell broke lose. 

My boss, a Japanese computer engineer named Itoh, poked his head in the door.  This was a shock because I had never seen Mr. Itoh before 10am ever.  My job was to come in early and leave early and he arrived late and stayed late to shut down the system each night.  He asked me what had happened.  I told him I had shut down the system by mistake.  He shook his head and ran down the hall.

Next, the head administrator, who I had only seen once in the computer room, walked in.  He asked where Mr. Itoh was.  I pointed down the hall.  And he ran that direction as well.

More than an hour later,  the Administrative Director returned to my office to explain what had happened. He told me about the Korean Airline disaster and that no one really knew what was going on, but that most of the information available was coming in from Japanese sources—first from Japanese fishing ships in the area and later from Japanese defense forces who were being dispatched to look for debris.  A team of translators and US diplomats had been readying the first report for President Reagan at the time I turned off the computer systems.  As this was a very early computer with limited backup capability, hours of work of dozens of experts had been lost when I inadvertently closed down the computer. 

I, naturally, felt terrible and was, appropriately, fired. 

It was only weeks later that I began to comprehend the effects of this single keystroke mistake.  President Reagan was criticized in the press for his administration’s delayed announcement of the tragedy.  But more troublesome, the reports that were being compiled in the US Embassy at the time of my error were meant to be shared with the South Korean government.  As the team in Tokyo went back to rewriting the report—with clear evidence that the plane had been downed in the Sea of Japan—the South Korean government, working from flawed data, announced that the airliner had simply been forced to land in Russian territory and that all passengers and crew were safe.

That Korean announcement and the slow response by the US President—both caused by delayed real information—caused decades of conspiracy theories.   Until the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, many  Koreans clung to the hope that their loved ones were still alive and well in some Siberian prison camp.

So today, in the face of a Malaysian Airline crash in the Ukraine—and with all the associated speculation of 24-hour news organizations and the Tweetosphere, my advice is to take a deep breath, count to ten, and know that there is a very good chance that truth in the matter will be forthcoming very soon.  And let’s hope that there is no stupid 23-year-old with his finger on an important keyboard in this information chain.

abandonedrollercoaster-deactiva  asked:

Hi Ms. Stiefvater. I really love your Raven Cycle series first of all. Secondly I have two questions: Do you think the current marketing around YA books is beneficial or no? (Like before we had stuff written with teen protagonists YA wasn't a "thing" like it is now.) And also how do you feel about the Raven Cycle being called paranormal romance/ put in the teen romance section even though it really... isn't that? (I mean there's barely any kissing)

Hello Ms/Mr Rollercoaster.

First of all, thank you. Secondly, your questions.

1) Do you think the current marketing around YA books is beneficial or no?

No. Well. Sort of. Well, I’m certain it’s a no, but I’m also certain that it’s not a YA-specific problem. YA got popular and it got commercial, and so the genre inherited the problem inherent in commercial fiction of any sort.

Which is this: Our culture is a flow chart that has girls reading different things than boys, women reading different things from girls, and of course it goes to follow that men certainly do not read those girl things that boys also do not read. So in commercial fiction, fiction that is meant to appeal to The Everyone, one of the first decisions is whether or not the book is going into the boy box or the girl box.

Boy box? Okay, good. Emphasize the action! The chase scenes! The cars! DON’T MENTION THE GIRL CHARACTER WHATEVER YOU DO NO NO ANYTHING BUT THAT. Is there maybe some kind of aggressive design we can put on the front? Like, a dramatic logo, or perhaps the sleek edge of a fender, or maybe the subtle crest of someone’s hardened member? Too far, Stiefvater. Too far.

Girl box? Okay, better. Because statistically most readers are going to be Teh Ladies, so bring on the Bucks McBucks. The cover copy should emphasize the romance. Is there kissing? Can there be kissing? Look, is there just a way to frame this that lets readers know that at some point she and the guy look into each other’s eyes? Come on. It doesn’t matter that she’s in a Siberian prison camp. She’s enslaved, not dead inside! Now, let’s add a pretty cover. A face, maybe? A pretty girl? Some luminous baubles? At least some cursive font then, sheesh.  

Then there is the literary box. Literary is a nebulous, unspecified creature that doesn’t have to follow the rules as often. It often sits outside the commercial room drinking dark coffee and blowing smoke rings at its cousins. When young adult fiction first got its feet beneath it, it behaved like literary fiction. It was full of experimental prose, weird covers, and genre-bending stories that were strange in the unselfconscious way that comes from suspecting not many people are watching and being right about it.

And then it got popular, and while those strange books are still in the section, they are outnumbered by commercial YA. We’re making money, baby!

But I don’t think it’s helpful. I think specific marketing and sectioning of the bookstore is helpful as long as it is helping readers to find other books they want to read. When it expands a reader’s selection. It becomes counter productive when it encourages tunnel vision and limits a reader’s selection. And on a broader scale, when it does nothing but broaden the gulf between men’s entertainment and women’s entertainment. History has shown us that when the two things are held apart, the woman side is always considered less important and worthy.


2) How do you feel about the Raven Cycle being called paranormal romance/ put in the teen romance section even though it really… isn’t that?

The cover copy of The Raven Boys promises a love story and little else, but the problem is that if you’re reading only for that, you’re going to have to skim over a lot of other characters and mythological shindigs. This series is simply not a paranormal romance series. There’s nothing wrong with that genre — I wrote this one series, you know, the Shiver trilogy, and it’s basically romance and eye-snogging wall to pining-forever-love wall far as we can see — but that’s just not what the Raven Cycle is. But it’s in the girl box, so that’s how it was always going to be framed.

Moreover, it’s in the commercial teen box, which is a new-ish box that I don’t like the looks of. This one, across all media, buys in to the idea that teens are hormonal, senseless, foolish, inarticulate, easily distracted, and self-obsessed. This teen box says they won’t get complicated characters, they won’t want complicated story-lines, they won’t read complicated prose. So boil it down, kids. Boil it down.

Here’s a quote from the LA Times review of The Raven Boys, back in 2012, on my use of third-person in a genre dominated by first: “But in a literary marketplace that trades on identification and plot-driven readability, the third person voice is sometimes a risk. And it’s especially risky because The Raven Boys’s narrator indulges in plot digressions, emphatic repetition, lush description, long lists.” The NY Times review also calls out how “Stiefvater … doesn’t talk down to her readers” and notes “Stiefvater’s respect for her readers’ intelligence.”

Damn straight. Do authors of adult paranormal fiction get praised for such things, though?

I trust teen readers. But I’m not sure anyone else does.

So, the marketing. I’ll say it: it’s maddening. The problem is bigger than just me, though, and from this side of the table, I can best attack it with my stories. I’m getting out my pen.

So I just saw Civil War again and I have a few thoughts

1. The whole “therapy” thing with Tony and his parents is totally gonna be how they help Bucky.

2. Tony is kind of a dick in the way that he basically buys Spiderman’s support.

3. The strength that Bucky shows going in, and being in, his Siberian prison is amazing (and Sebastian acted so perfectly)

4. Clint may have just become my favorite Avenger. He just so sassy!

5. Sam and Bucky are the best thing ever. Just saying.

6. How did Tony get back home at the end? His suit didn’t work.

7. Please tell me that Tony Stank will be a recurring joke.

So all I have to say is, BRING BACK MY BUCKY!!!!!!!!!


Zona: Siberian Prison Camps by Carl De Keyzer

“The photographic work of Carl de Keyzer (Magnum, 1994) is a rare brand of documentation infused with a literary sensibility. The subject matter is former Soviet gulags in Siberia presently maintained as state prison camps. The names, such as Krasnoyarsk, Sosnovobosk, and Novobirusinsk, are as harsh sounding as the -50 degree reality of wintertime. De Keyzer is not clandestinely searching for 20th century atrocities hidden from the public eye. Rather, through a diplomatic demeanor and wily tenacity he manages to convince the military generals who run the various camps to allow him to photograph the daily rituals of prison life in all their melancholic absurdity. Trolley, the small but energetic publishing house based in London, needs to be commended here as well. The great majority of titles published by this young company address the trials and difficulties of the human condition, often extreme situations. They consistently marry profound content to elevated, respectful design, producing photography books that are elegant, educational, and most of all, important.”

Discussed in Episode 3.7 with John Francis Peters