Sidetracks is a collaborative project featuring various essays, videos, reviews, or other Internet content that we want to share with each other. All past and current links for the Sidetracks project can be found in our Sidetracks tag.
1. A Certain Point of View is an upcoming Star Wars anthology featuring forty different authors writing forty short stories about bit players in the Star Wars universe. Authors like Nnedi Okorafor, Paul Dini, Meg Cabot, Griffin McElroy, and Mallory Ortberg. Be still, my heart!
2. The Thor: Ragnarok trailer is pure glory: classic weird Marvel space stuff, Thor “The Golden Retriever Who Is Also a Superhero” Odinson, Jeff Goldblum, VALKYRIES, and Cate Blanchett in full Hannibal Wendigo cosplay. You know it’s good when Karl Urban isn’t even on that list, and he’s reliably one of the best things in any given thing he’s in.
3. I mentioned last time that the AP Styleguide now allows use of singular "they" under similar circumstances, but I neglected to mention that the Chicago Manual of Style made a similar change, only with a lot fewer caveats and less foot-stomping. Go, Chicago Manual of Style!
4. This year's Star Wars Celebration included a lovely tribute to Carrie Fisher. My odds of getting through The Last Jedi without weeping are currently pretty low. Also on my to-watch list is Mark Hamil's personal tribute to Carrie from the same event.
5. Amy Hennig, creator of the Uncharted video game series, is at the helm of a new Star Wars game coming out in 2018, and this interview with her has me very excited about it.
6. Non-binary actor Asia Kate Dillon was allowed to choose which category they wanted to be considered for in the Emmy Awards.
7. Here's a case when the headline says it all: "Black Panther and Ms. Marvel Nominated for Hugo Awards Days After Marvel VP Blamed Them for Sales Slump."
8. Friend of the Blog, Elizabeth, made the Ditmar shortlists: TWICE in the SAME CATEGORY. (The Ditmar is an Australian SFF award.)
9. Elizabeth (again!) reviewed Crossroads of Canopy by Thoraiya Dyer, a book I want to check out because it sounds nifty and has a new to me author, who is also Australian (I'm gonna read more non-American authors!!). Plus side: this review makes the book sound super promising, so I am newly excited.
10. Elizabeth (TRIPLE PLAY) talked about her experience being an awards judge. I would love to do this one day. It sounds like fun.
11. I almost went to see Life, because I am Hungry for movies set in space. But I'm also the person going, "No space horror movie will ever live up to the perfect Extraness of EVENT HORIZON so why should I bother?" According to Chloe's review of Life, I was RIGHT. Which is sad because I love Jake Gyllenhaal. SORRY JAKE.
12. Saturn is so cool. I want to know the meaning behind its hexagon. I hope Science can figure it out and tell us soon.
13. Speaking of Saturn, Cassini is going to make the Ultimate Sacrifice for Science once its fuel runs out. I maybe teared up a little bit watching this explainer video.
14. Aliette de Bodard shares five dragons she loves from SFF and also talks about the dragons in her own books (I avoided that part because I am trying to avoid as many potential spoilers as possible for the next book in her series, The House of Binding Thorns).
15. BookishDi recced Hellbent, a political podcast by ladies because everything was getting kind of dude heavy in my podcast app (Dear Crooked Media: please have more podcasts hosted by Nonwhite Ladies, because they're hilarious political commentators, too). In a recent episode of Hellbent they talked about an essay written by R. Eric Thomas about Maxine Waters:
Congresswoman Maxine Waters isn't even reading these fools anymore. She has completely leveled up. She is like Scarlett Johansson in Lucy, that movie where she was using like 100 percent of her brain and she can control televisions and tell the future. That's Maxine Waters. Except with reading. We don't even have a word for what she's doing yet.
Honestly, I wasn't even going to write about Bill O'Reilly's comments about her hair today. And I'm not, actually. I'm writing about Congresswoman Waters. Because Bill O'Reilly (whoever that is) can't come for her. He wasn't sent for. His hairline doesn't have the range. She has 40 years of political receipts. He has tired, racist dog whistles about hair. These are not equivalent. If he thinks he was reading her, he needs Hooked on Phonics.
So now I think Maxine Waters is even cool than before and I need to read everything R. Eric Thomas has ever written.
16. Cora writes about the recent popularity of space opera and how the current environment compares to the past decade or so, in response to a Wired article. I've got some reading to do to catch up on the space opera from the past, that's for sure. (*looks at list, weeps openly*)
17. Women in SFF Month continues! Essays so far are by Sarah Ash, Cassandr Rose Clarke, Gail Carriger, Dayna, S. Jae Jones, Yangsze Choo, Kat Howard, Katherine Arden, Maureen Eichner, and Sylvia Izzo Hunter. You can still add your favorite ten books by women writers from the last year if you haven't yet, too.
18. Someone tweeted this into my timeline (thank you, mystery pocket friend) and I was THRILLED: it's a list of queer webcomics, complete with explanatory tags and summaries.
19. WarGames: The Only Winning Move Is Still Not to Play by Jamie Kingston is a nice write up of one of my Fave Movies, and summarizes all the reasons I imprinted on it as a small person just developing Opinions about the world. This is also one of the roots of my childhood fascination with friendly AI/robots: Joshua just wanted someone to play games with him! HE WAS LONELY, HUMANS. Gosh.
20. Jenny wrote an excellent explainer about your inevitable encounter facing your own privilege. It has great metaphors.
21. A few years ago I read Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve. I liked it okay, but I didn't love it as much as his other middle grade series, so I didn't continue past the first book (I was young and fickle). It was a pretty fascinating world, though, and apparently it was optioned for film by Peter Jackson in 2001, and they've cast Hugo Weaving, which means I'm 100% on board now. I'm not familiar with the rest of the cast, though.
22. My ongoing cheerleading of vN by Madeline Ashby pays off! Rachel totally loved it.
23. Natalie summaries the latest failure by a con to provide a safe space from harassers; this exploded while I was on deadline and I missed it, and Natalie's overview, with links and updates, is excellent. She's also posted some follow-up thoughts.
24. Claire did a huge book haul video, featuring Gemsigns by Stephanie Saulter, which I read on rec from Jenny last year and loved. She also expresses a similar bemusement that I often feel when I think of books published before 2014 as "old". (They're not old; that's a dirty tricked played on us by Capitalism, but it's a hard one to avoid.)
25. Last year I read and loved a book I'm still shocked I loved as much as I did: The Vagrant by Peter Newman. Mieneke reviews the sequel, The Malice, which I have but need to find time to read because Vesper.
26. My pal BookishDi finished a project about Star Wars and you can READ IT! Be mindful of the future: information and knowledge management in Star Wars tie-in fiction. Ahhhh this is so cool.
27. splashikins let me know about this nail polish, named after Scalzi, and via that polish, an entirely new polish maker I didn't know about. I need to buy...oh, you know, everything from this site.
28. Nothing surprises me less than dudes being condescending and smug about video games, which is summed up in this article about a little dust up over an explainer post about how a game works. I want to make a verb out of this somehow: dudes who condescend about know they perceive to be "common" when it's not are...frustuming? "Don't be such a frustum, dude." Okay, it works better in theory, I guess. I have experienced a form of this via books, where ideas I'm excited about in something I'm reading mean that men can go, "Oh, well, that concept has been around since Heinlein/Asimov/Clarke, you know, it's not new." The tone this is delivered in is set at Maximum Smug, like they've gotten one up on you and your excitement is just precious but overall ignorant and proof that you don't really belong to the club. This is not a good look, fellas, in any field.
Book AcquisitionsAdded TBR: Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett, Space Battle Lunchtime Volume 2: A Recipe for Disaster by Natalie Riess, The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi, A Colony in a Nation by Christopher L. Hayes, Jade City by Fonda Lee, Provenance by Ann Leckie, Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones, The House of Binding Thorns by Aliette de Bodard, Cold Welcome by Elizabeth Moon, The Fight to Vote by Michael Waldman, Spin State by Chris Moriarty, Upon a Burning Throne by Ashok K. Banker, Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James, Markswoman by Rati Mehrotra, The Invisible Life Of Addie La Rue by V.E. Schwab, Burndive by Karin Lowachee, The Ruin of a Rake by Cat Sebastian, Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America by Ari Berman
29. Friend humans, I have discovered the Atomic Blonde trailers and I am hyped. Charlize Theron is playing a Cold War era spy with James McAvoy and Sofia Boutella as... I don't know, the inevitably backstabbing love interests and/or opponents? I hope it's good and Charlize Theron punches everybody! *chinhands*
30. Okay, I never actually believed that they would make a second series of Yuri!!! On Ice, but someone uploaded a thirty second promo clip of Yurio's new routine and now I'm a believer? (On the one hand, oh cool! This is what Yurio's routines look like when he presumably gets to pick for himself! On the other hand: oh my goodness Yurio you are a baby, what are you doing?!)