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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.


➝ Rebecca Lucy Busker’s 2008 article "LiveJournal and the shape of fannish discourse" proposes that LiveJournal encouraged a multifandom view of fandom through its intricately linked personal journals and communities. This link brought to you by the fact that I still miss LiveJournal’s heyday.


➝ Here's some great headcanon about Hermione Granger and Harry Potter being characters of colour.

➝ Someone put together all the posters featuring women in the MCU. It's an overwhelmingly white collection, but it's still cool to see the ladies getting their own posters!

"Walled World": This map says interesting and disheartening things about the worldwide distritubtion of wealth and the policing of those borders.


➝ Mira Jacob's essay "I Gave A Speech About Race To The Publishing Industry And No One Heard Me" talks about being actively ignored by publishing, and why publishing needs to start taking action.

➝ Viola Davis won an Emmy!!! Here's the full list of the winners.

➝ Kate Elliott's essay "Writing Women Characters as Human Beings" is chock full of fantastic advice and should be required reading for all writers, Some of my favourite quotes:

Women and girls talk to other women and girls A LOT. If you are writing a hard-shelled patriarchal society, this is going to be even more true rather than less true, and in such a case your story will be less realistic if the female characters in the narrative only ever talk to or interact with men. It’s rare for women to live in isolation from other women—and in circumstances where they do, they are often eager for a chance to interact with other women even for a short time.

In virtually all societies historically there have been both women and men present. Really, it’s true. In a few societies women’s movements have been (and in a few places are today) constrained, but this aspect of women’s lives is highly variable. Women exist, then as now. Furthermore women of the upper classes are often involved in their family’s business and political dealings. As always, everywhere, working class and poor women have to work, to haul water, to run businesses, to sell in the marketplace. No matter what other constraints these women live under, they partake in the tasks that make society function.

For example, let’s say a female character’s place in the plot mostly revolves around a male character or is confined to a small domicile. She can still have her own dreams, her own desires, her own goals and quirks and thoughts and emotions. She can make choices, however small they may seem to be, for herself. This is how I define the nebulous term “agency.”

➝ Kameron Hurley breaks down "The Cold Publishing Equations: Books Sold + Marketability + Love":

The average book sells 3000 copies in its lifetime (Publishers Weekly, 2006).

Yes. It’s not missing a zero.

Take a breath and read that again.

But wait, there’s more!

The average traditionally published book which sells 3,000 in its entire lifetime in print only sells about 250-300 copies its first year.

But I’m going indie! you say. My odds are better!

No, grasshopper. Your odds are worse.

The average digital only author-published book sells 250 copies in its lifetime.

It’s not missing a zero.

➝ Via Kameron Hurley & Lauren Beukes, "The PM, the Pig and musings on Power" - a thoughtful piece about David Cameron's recent embarrassment:

Lord Ashcroft, pollster and political guru in his own right, knows as well as anyone else what this will do. This is not a playful aside in a fun little unauthorised biography that he’s putting together as a hobby with his journalist pal, Oakeshott; this is a carefully targeted, focused attack designed to wreak career havoc upon, and cause huge personal embarrassment for, a man whom Ashcroft sees as disloyal, or as having stepped out of line. And here, I think, is something much bigger and more interesting than the scurrilous details of Cameron’s vivid indiscretion; here is a rare public example of how power is wielded by Britain’s elite, of how control is exerted over those they wish to manipulate, and of how those groomed for success from a young age can be destroyed should they be seen to diverge from the steps they’re told to dance.

I'm lifelong anti-Tory and very anti-Cameron. And I get why people are so gleeful about this revelation - it's hilariously icky, it pleases Black Mirror fans, and it's kind of nice to see that someone can bring David "The Worst" Cameron down a peg. But the power structure behind Cameron's shaming should concern us all. It's not a 'truth for the people' moment but rather another example of how powerful men can bring down anyone they disagree with, and a reminder that they create their own systems of power. This story is a distraction tactic - while Ashcroft is screwing Cameron over he's sure to be setting up a successor who will look to fuck us up just as badly if not worse. And that guy (cuz it's gonna be a guy) will have put his dick somewhere just as bizarre.

Laurie Penny also has a good piece about the politics of the whole event (and possibly the best pun so far):

The thing that's really horrifying about what has already been dubbed the 'Hameron' scandal is that it demonstrates what entitlement of this kind actually means, and how embarrassing it all is. There are people out there who can spend their early twenties in close proximity to cocaine and popping their peckers in offal and not even consider for a second that there might be anyone better placed to run the country. These are people who know the rules don’t apply to them, who know they can do whatever they want and still end up in charge.

Just a reminder that a British politician once thought it was fine to claim a floating duck house on expenses.

➝ And because I just seem to be angry about everything this week, I had some angry thoughts about meta and criticism that frame questionable authorial decisions as a personal choices made by fictional characters. People write books. People are affected by the world they live in. It's fine to acknowledge that in your criticism. History student out. *drops mic*

➝ Moving on from anger - "Nom die Vie: Literary Social Media in the Age of Ferrante" discusses the huge success of Elena Ferrante, an author who refuses to engage in promotional activities. It's an interesting discussion, although I'm dubious that Ferrante's decision to maintain so much privacy is the feminist project the author makes out. And luckily the author understands that not every author can be Ferrante so makes no prescriptions for a new culture of 'real writers' who avoid promotional activity.

➝ Someone asked Tom Hardy if he'd like to return to the DC universe and his answer was perfect.


➝ I really liked this piece of writing advice because it shares some great resources.

➝ This is a cool science experiment that creates FLOATING BALLS using magnets. I love everything about this. :D

➝ The 2015 Strange Horizons Fund Drive is underway!

The candidates for the 2015 OTW Election have been announced. You'll need to be a member by October 6, 2015 to vote.

Reading the End book podcast discussed separating authors from their work, seeking out details about authors, and making decisions about future reading. I come down on firmly on Gin Jenny's side and I'm a bit of a jerk about it, too. "Oh, right think fanfic is rotten? You don't want MY money, then!" But I do tend to think most people have no clue who most of their favorite authors are...they just like books.

I shared my thoughts about future books in The Old Man's War universe I've love to see over at Tor. Thanks to G for inviting me!

Ann Leckie is going on tour! I'm going to be able to hit up the November stop and I am SUPER EXCITED. :D

➝ Wow: Ta-Nehisi Coates is going to be writing the Black Panther comic. I love his long form writing, so I'm excited to see him branch out into comics. Yay!

➝ #PigGate happened. I continue to be OFFENDED Twitter didn't go with the much catchier #Snoutrage. This is my favorite tweet of the whole drama.

Here is a cat sitting in a tuba.

Book Acquisitions

Purchased: Saga Volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Gifts: The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle, Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor, Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall, Annihilation/Authority/Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer (JODIE YOU ARE THE GREATEST)
Added TBR: The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin, Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer


➝ A.C. Wise recently started posting a series about Non-Binary Authors: Where to Start as a companion to her Women to Read: Where to Start column at SF Signal. I've been reading my way through the recommendations (Recommendations with links are my favourite things, and the guaranteed way to make sure I don't go "Yes, that sounds amazing" and instantly forget it), and everything I've read so far has been really good! My personal favourites so far: Eyes I Dare Not Meet In Dreams by Sunny Moraine (A beautifully short and angry piece about dead girls climbing out of refrigerators - no, really.) and The Shape of My Name by Nino Cipri (About time travel and transitioning and the complicated family relationships that come with some knowing the future and some not.), and there's always How to Become a Robot in Twelve Easy Steps by A. Merc Rustad, which is a [community profile] ladybusiness favourite.

Long Way Home: "Dragon Age 2" on Immigration & Identity is a neat little piece of meta makes a lot of sense to me - the flaws and features of the game fold together really well when looked at through the lens of immigration and assimilation.

So, one thousand Italian rockers covered Foo Fighter's Learn to Fly! This is such a great thing, partly because it's an amazing achievement (and a cool cover!), and partly it's immensely soothing to see all of the drummers moving in sync with each other.

Date: 2015-09-27 04:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] readingtheend.pip.verisignlabs.com
Imagining Hermione as a black girl is one of my favorite running headcanons from the Harry Potter universe. It makes total sense, and it adds another excellent layer to the prejudice she faces from the Slytherins. Love.

Ta much for the linky love for our podcast! :D I actually was JUST SAYING to my friend in person that the way authors and actors respond to questions about fanfiction starring them is one of the major ways that I judge them. I used to not care about Mark Ruffalo, but I have been enormously much fonder of him ever since he responded with total joy to Science Bros. Also cause he always talks about feminism. :p

Date: 2015-09-27 06:59 pm (UTC)
renay: artist rendition of the center of a nebula (Default)
From: [personal profile] renay
Mark Ruffalo is a gift. :D :D


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