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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 posted my monthly reading round up on my tumblr, including novels and short fiction. Now if only February will be as great.

➝ Discovered several new blogs the last two weeks! Unbridled Enthusiasm, Strange Charm, and Cyborgology.

➝ On the heels of the excellent short fiction recommendations, [personal profile] forestofglory talks about short fiction and continuity, and puts to words something I haven't been able to verbalize. It's much easier to see connections, influences, and references in novels because in most situations novels are accessible, which is not true of a lot of short fiction. And considering I already find short fiction pretty inaccessible due to the amount, this is revelatory to me. In every other area I read I can find the history of where I'm reading, and I understand the context and the community, which is not true of short fiction.

➝ Agent Carter is great so far, but it's disappointing on the race front. It's been a disappointment because the lack of POC since the first episode, and hasn't improved since. Although I recognize we're only five episodes in, given the fact we only have eight total means I don't have much hope for what needs to be a drastic improvement immediately, like, next episode immediately. I do think Agent Carter is incredibly important and do sometimes think that when its being examined by passionless corporate shadow powers that be, they're going to see "show helmed by a woman that didn't perform to X standards" and not "show that might have done better had it targeted more than white feminists" and the result will be "women led shows aren't a good horse to bet on" — if all the dire wailing re: #RenewAgentCarter is true? I can't tell if it's an actual issue or if we're all being swayed by a media culture which expect women-led shows to become instant hits and then to cry failure as soon as they aren't. Then comes the entire conversation: the impending failure, rather than the actual show, derailed right out of the gate. Fandom has been pushing people to watch legally, promoting like wild, and in some cases, horrifyingly telling people who are hurt by the absence of non-white characters they're hurting women's chances for more media about them when they stop watching? I'm so out of the loop about this, but this seems MIND-BOGGLING. This response by [tumblr.com profile] copperbadge is one I found via tumblr and it managed to be pretty close to my feelings on certain aspects of this discussion, especially the end: can we stop telling ourselves Agent Carter lives or dies by our word? Because it is literally, right now, living out the old adage that a woman has to work twice as hard as a man to be considered half as good, and that’s not our fault.

➝ Some excellent inspiration about fandom and writing by [tumblr.com profile] roachpatrol.

This statement about being in fandom as we age was so spot on I wanted to cheer, because there's apparently some drama going around about younger people on tumblr realizing some of us are over 30, or, even worse, over 40? Like fandom sprung up on tumblr and we're weirdos for being here. It's a weird combination of amusing and offensive, and is part of the erasure of women in culture that is pretty disturbing. If these grasshoppers think I'm leaving my entire social and creative support network on some arbitrary birthday, they're mistaken.

Poking At Awards: Size (And Simplicity) Matters: the crown jewel of this post is the chart comparing the word counts of the WSFS Constitution versus the United States Constitution.

➝ Via, Clare, The Whiteness Of "Public Radio Voice" was so excellent. I have similar thoughts on the topic of podcasts and news radio shows that sound a specific way (white intellectual, perhaps?). I've made it no secret that my hesitance to adopt Skype, to engage in podcasts (which I love), and to other be verbal online is directly related to the fact I have a Southern accent. I was born in Tennessee, I grew up in rural Arkansas, and I've never been out of the state longer than two weeks at a time for the duration of my life so far. I have noticed my efforts to sound more "normal" in the course of editing Fangirl Happy Hour, which sound very obvious to me. I'm trying not to, but it's hard, considering how I've been treated due to my accent in the past. I can see the dilemma in being non-white and trying to podcast, too — people will dismiss you on how you sound, if you don't sound "normal".

Rocket Talk Episode 40 with Natalie Luhrs and Amal El-Mohtar was so excellent! Definitely recommended listening. Episode 42 with Elizabeth Bear is great, too.

➝ Via [tumblr.com profile] alittlepained, That Mysterious "S" Thing We Used to Draw was a fascinating video essay about the S symbol that I spent countless hours filling my notebooks with in elementary school, especially during math class. I never wondered where it came from, although I do remember adults calling it a "gang symbol". My favorite reading is that it came from graffiti artists, though. How cool would that be?

➝ Curated by [twitter.com profile] ellenbwright, Science Fiction Movies That AREN'T Action/Thriller/Horror is a great list.

➝ Lastly, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Pratt, and Chris Evans photobomb fans at the Superbowl. It is the greatest video, and I laughed until I cried. How does Chris Evans know how to launch himself so high in the air?!

Book Acquisitions

Added TBR: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman, Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, City of Savages by Lee Kelly, The End of All Things by John Scalzi, The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker, City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett

text that says Jodie's Section

➝ There's going to be a Spooks movie and Harry's going to be in it and I'm just not sure I'm ready yet. *continues weeping over Ruth*

[personal profile] chaila talked about how awesome Genevive Valentine's Catwoman run has been so far and then I read beccatoria's post which backs her up. I am very tempted to look into this further, but I need a collected edition.

➝ Amal El-Mohtar's Of Awards Eligibility Lists and Unbearable Smugness sees through double standards:

You cannot with one breath say that you wish more women were recognized for their work, and then say in the next that you think less of people who make others aware of their work. You cannot trust that somehow, magically, the systems that suppress the voices of women, people of colour, disabled people, queer people, trans people, will of their own accord stop doing that when award season rolls around in order to suddenly make you aware of their work. You MUST recognize the fact that the only way to counter silence is to encourage speech and make room for it to be heard.

➝ Strange Horizons hosts an interview about the Kaleidoscope YA SFF anthology. They've also reprinted Amal El-Mohtar's "The Truth About Owls" from that anthology. Yay — I've been wanting to read that since I saw it listed on our Hugo spreadsheet.

David Tennant is joining A.K.A Jessica Jones, a Marvel show I had heard nothing about until last week and am now way too invested in. Krysten Ritter is going to be the main character! There are four linked series, three of which involve Lemond Bishop (who Jenny & I agree is very easy on the eyes). And, they'll all be available on Netflix so I'll actually be able to watch them. Triple score!

➝ Sarah Seltzer's Writers, Money, and the Economy: Why Time Is the 21st Century’s "Room of One’s Own" is a follow up to Ann Bauer's essay about the way writer's talk about money, which I've linked to before. Seltzer's article is the kind of piece I want to like — it talks about moving away from individual monetary triumphs to a place where a supportive society enables creativity — but it's full of so much unthinking weird I just can't.

As I said on Twitter, Seltzer's article ignores creators who are single and reads as if same sex partnerships don't exist. It also says that most sponsored authors are women and that sponsored writers are happy knowing their income streams will never match that of their partner. Seeing women get paid less than male spouses isn't exactly unique in this world and yet Seltzer says being a "sponsored writer" would make her 'feminist brain explode'. This is just before she asks why writers should pit themselves against each other. Yes, when will people learn, eh? >.>

➝ In Next On "Black Mirror", The Toast takes down Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror and his curmudgeonly soul which makes me eternally happy. I especially like the link 'It’s Christmas, but everybody’s dead because nobody just reads anymore, you know?'.

Issue 4 of Shiny New Books is out, and in a bit of extra good news I'm joining the Shiny New Books staff team to help with publicity.

Date: 2015-02-09 12:41 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
That tumblr piece on lady aging in fandom was great, also the tagline for the tumblr is "just another bitter gay person who hates straight people and males" and it almost made coffee come out of my nose.

Date: 2015-02-11 02:13 am (UTC)
renay: artist rendition of the center of a nebula (Default)
From: [personal profile] renay
Tumblr is often a place of beauty and grace with the ability to create awkward bodily situations involving liquids. I admit I missed that tagline, which is quality. :D

Date: 2015-02-09 06:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] readingtheend.pip.verisignlabs.com
Ahahaha, I watched my first episode of Black Mirror last night and thought it was ... a little on the nose. It was the second one, where everyone has nonstop television and advertisements all the time, and Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey tries to be a singing sensation. I will try one more and then I will probably give up, particularly as I now feel I have the blessing of The Toast to choose to dislike it. :p

Date: 2015-02-09 07:48 pm (UTC)
bookgazing: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bookgazing
Is that the one where Rupert Everett is a talent judge? Black Mirror does the unfortunate thing of being a project I hate but casting people I love so its possible I might break down and watch at least two of them one day but for now I'm using The Toast's views to stay strong.

Date: 2015-02-09 08:03 pm (UTC)
bookgazing: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bookgazing
Interesting link about Agent Carter. Here, Shield S1 started airing pretty much the same time as in the US. This is unusual as we're generally at least half a series behind on US shows if not more unless they show on Sky.) I thought that excitement (and the continued investment in showing Shield considering that it wasn't everything everybody hoped early in S1) meant we'd have a good shot at getting Agent Carter even if we had to wait a while. And yet the network airing Shield has no intention of picking Agent Carter up and there isn't any 'we'll see how the numbers look' talk about picking it up either. It does look like things behind the scenes are having more influence than viewership can counter.

Date: 2015-02-11 02:14 am (UTC)
renay: artist rendition of the center of a nebula (Default)
From: [personal profile] renay
Yeah, I'm afraid that may be the reality. :( I really wanted you to see it! It's totally up your alley.

Date: 2015-02-10 03:21 am (UTC)
chaila: by me (catwoman - selina)
From: [personal profile] chaila
Yesss, Catwoman is so good! But I totally understand the necessity for a collected edition in an actual physical book. I may pay attention and prod you lightly when such a thing is in existence. :)

Date: 2015-02-10 10:30 am (UTC)
bookgazing: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bookgazing
Absolutely do! I'm also waiting for the collected Nimona to drop so I'm going to save a little bit of comics money up.

Date: 2015-02-10 01:52 pm (UTC)
marenfuga: (dude watchin' with the brontës)
From: [personal profile] marenfuga
I remember being 16 and wondering why those ladies in their fifties were writing HP fanfiction (specifically Harry/Snape, and I still kinda judge them for that, 'cause dude, underage Harry! You're old enough to know better!). Didn't they have jobs and a family to take care of? And now I realize that tumblr post is so on point. I couldn't even imagine being 50 and having a life different from my mom's or every other woman I had seen on TV. It *still* amazes me that you could be in your thirties and not have a biological clock ticking in the background at all times or a life like the characters in Sex and the City, which was basically what I had envisioned as my life circa 2003.

Date: 2015-02-10 01:58 pm (UTC)
marenfuga: (Default)
From: [personal profile] marenfuga
(BTW, thanks for linking to our blog!)

Date: 2015-02-11 02:21 am (UTC)
renay: artist rendition of the center of a nebula (Default)
From: [personal profile] renay
The biological clock is a lie! (Unlike the cake.)

I also definitely did scratch my head when I was younger (but I wasn't rude about it like some of the awful, ageist commentary I've seen is) because for me fandom wasn't such an integral part of my life and I was mostly a lurker so I didn't have a lot of social connections and couldn't imagine or empathize with that position. I think that's changed quite a bit in the time (decades! I'VE BEEN IN FANDOM FOR DECADES) as the Internet has become more integrated into how we manage friendships and work and have fun, even as the culture that wants everyone to fall into pre-determined homogeneous roles lingers.

And you're welcome! I'm super excited about it; I always love finding new fan blogs! :D


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