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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.





text that says Renay's Section

➝ I really enjoyed Ze Frank's video On Leaving. His videos always make me feel so thoughtful (and a little sad).

➝ A gorgeous video: Nocturnal: Scenes from the Southern Night. As per usual, I love the universe.

If this is for real, I can't wait to see what we'll be doing with technology in ten years.

➝ I finally managed to get around to reading Sex, Desire and Fan Fiction by Foz Meadows. I spent the entire article nodding along. How wonderful it is!

Which brings us back to fan fiction, and the reason why it's so heavily saturated with sex: because when you take two people you already care about, whose stories you already know and whose attraction has either been long-established in canon or the detailed subject of your own imaginings, then any romantic or sexual interaction between them comes freely imbued with white-hot, ready-made desire. These aren't just strangers we're perving on purely because we like their bodies (although that can certainly still be part of it); they're characters to whom we feel a strong emotional connection and in whose relationships we're invested, such that watching them have sex, regardless of the quality of the prose, is guaranteed to be about a thousand times more arousing than the sight of yet another anonymous blonde get screwed by some faceless, grunting goon on the internet. Sex in fan fiction matters because it's a glaring representation of everything that's missing from mainstream porn, and because it stands as evidence of the wealth of female desire -- and particularly young female desire -- that's barely being acknowledged elsewhere, let alone catered to.


➝ In closing, a song recommendation: Marques Toliver - White Sails.




text that says Ana's Section

➝ Renay, I'm sure you'll have read China Miéville's keynote speech at the 2012 Edinburgh World Writers' conference by now (I was there, everyone!), but I'm putting it in here for when Jodie comes back:

"[Y]ou will all be able to buy them," Durrell says of those novel-writing kits, addressing not the other writers, who didn't need them, but the public, "and write your own."

That's a telling elision - he starts by kvetching about writing by machine, by no one, and segues instantly to doing so about writing by the public, by everyone. That's the apocalypse. That, apparently, is the nightmare future.

The worst anxiety is not that the interfering public will ruin your work if they muck about with it, or that they'll write a terrible novel, but that they'll improve it, or write a great one. And once in a rare while, some of them will. How wonderful that will be.

You don't have to think that writing is lever-pulling, that anyone could have written Jane Eyre or Notebook of a Return to my Native Land, to think that the model of writers as the Elect is at best wrong, at worst, a bit slanderous to everyone else. We piss and moan about the terrible quality of self-published books, as if slews of god-awful crap weren't professionally and expensively published every year.

The Princess Morphologies is a tumblr that describes itself as "a formalist analysis of Pixar's Brave and other Disney Princess movies". I haven't had time to explore it in detail yet, but how exciting :D

➝ At The Awl, Jane Hu gives us A Short History Of Book Reviewing's Long Decline. I think a bit of historical perspective is always helpful in these debates.

➝ Michelle Dean's Critics Who Explain Things also makes some valuable points:

There's a certain male tint to the perspective that life happens on a level playing field, where reason is always triumphant and a hint of bias is a slag on a good man's word, so why can’t we go mano-a-mano and all just have at it? Women, for better or worse, don't have that luxury. They know that the unconscious bias is always there.


Again, I will say that I have seen the call to Be Nice be used to shut down critical discourse in my corner of the online bookish world, but I do find it useful to remember that this is not quite the circle Silverman was writing about.

➝ Penny Red's It's Trigger Warning week is an amazingly powerful piece of writing. TW for what follows, obviously:

[T]he idea that good guys don’t rape, that idea has two effects. One: it fosters the fantasy that there’s only one kind of rape, and it happens in the proverbial alley with the perennial knife and certainly not to anyone you know. That’s what’s most disturbing about the discussion going on right now. There are millions of men, some of them very young, most of them extremely well-meaning, all of them with their own unique sexual histories trying to figure out a way to negotiate boundaries without hurting themselves or others, and those men are being told that sometimes women say things are rape when they aren’t really. That people who say that consent is really very important indeed are probably on the same side as conniving governments who want to suppress freedom of speech and punish whistleblowers and truth-seekers.

Two: it makes any man or woman who has ever been raped by a nice guy suspect, yet again, that it’s all their fault, that they let it happen. It makes rape victims less likely to come forward and report. I didn’t report my rape. It took me months even to understand it as rape. I stopped talking about it, because I was sick of being called a liar, and I got the shut-up message fairly fast. I tried to stop thinking about it.


➝ Margo Lanagan on writing Tender Morsels:

And because the Grimms had made over the tale into such an unpleasant little sermon about how women will be rewarded for putting up with men's unrelentingly appalling behaviour, I decided that my version would be all about what a bad idea that was. Great harm, I wanted to assert, can come to women when they're isolated from society and not taught to stand up for themselves and claim a safe place for themselves. (You can also see this theme developed, perhaps not quite so brutally, in my more recent novel about the selkie myths, The Brides of Rollrock Island.)


➝ Love these minimalist Firefly posters :D

➝ Finally, io9 lists This Fall’s Must-Read Science Fiction and Fantasy Books. There are a few that weren't on my radar yet (including Pirate Cinema, how did I miss that?) and that sound really exciting. Also, Renay, notice how the American edition of The Brides of Rollrock Island is coming out soon? Maaaybe your library will get it, and maybe you could read it? :D Just saying :P




text that says Jodie's Section

➝ Autostraddle (now there's a name) lists 'The 20 best YA novels for queer girls'. For once this is a list with some books I haven't heard of before and the comments are full of new suggestions to try.

➝ Jeff Vandermeer talks about the positives of traditional publishing and the problem of throwing out the good ideas from traditional ways of getting a book out. There's lots to think about here, especially for someone like me who can go from totally believing in a crowdsourced model for the arts to having a long, loud 3am discussion about how self-publishing is not the one true saviour for every author. The one part I can't say I'm totally convinced about is his idea that traditional publishing currently offers great support to people who can't manage social media well. A lot of the advice coming out of publishers seems to include writers creating a social media profile themselves to boost traditional marketing endeavours and you hear from some writers that their publisher has put little marketing money into promoting their book. At the same time traditional publishing does make things like finding an editor, or a cover designer, or getting your book put up on bookseller sites much easier. So there's pros and cons, which is the point of his post, so I'll be quiet now :P

Date: 2012-08-26 04:17 pm (UTC)
nymeth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nymeth
Thanks for sharing the song Renay, I really like it. Dudes with violins fall under things I'm totally powerless to resist :P

Date: 2013-02-18 04:32 pm (UTC)
bookgazing: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bookgazing
Ok I think I have now read all the Brave commentary you both linked to in various Sidetracks (saw it this weekend).

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