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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.


➝ I have spent the last two weeks screaming in righteous affirmation of Aliette de Bodard’s "On Colonialism, Evil Empires, and Oppressive Systems" because I am so sick of seeing speculative fiction that tries to engage with colonialism without ever considering how it would affect their protagonist and how much they would have to fight against their social programming.


Kyle Kallgren’s 2014 video review of Roland Emmerich’s Anonymous (a deliriously bad movie for the ages that I saw in theaters) takes on even more significance in the wake of Emmerich’s atrocious Stonewall. But I think it’s a universally useful review, especially in how Kallgren extends Barthesian theory—the author is dead—into how the lack of documentation on Shakespeare’s life actually makes him more universal.

➝ How about some nerdy arts and crafts? Here’s how to make a faux mirrored Death Star and how to make an 8-bit fire. I gotta get me a square punch.

Marcy Cook at the Mary Sue breaks down how to end harassment in the comics industry.

Marvel’s upcoming All-New All-Different Black Widow title is getting the creative team of the recently ended Daredevil run: writer Mark Waid, artist Chris Samnee, colorist Matthew Wilson, and letterer Joe Caramagna. I really loved their work on Daredevil, so I’m excited, but it is super-weird that Black Widow is getting a title with no women on the creative team.

This retrospective on Xena will be of interest to anyone who has been enjoying Renay and I’s Adventures in Xena. I haven’t read it because SPOILERS but here you go, kittens.


Open Letter to Terry Gross by Sameer ud Dowla Khan on Language Log — this was written in response to an interview on NPR Fresh Air about a documentary on "sounding gay" and is all about how we — everyone, gay and straight and bi and ace and whatever — express our identity through the way we speak. This kind of thing is literally what my degree is in, so I'm very excited to see it getting some attention on the internet. It's really important to emphasize that literally everyone marks identity through speech, not just minorities or out-groups or other such constructs. Definitely give this one a read!

An Overdue Apology to Final Fantasy IX‘s Princess of Alexandria for Disliking Her Traditional Femininity — I always loved FFIX and was totally into Zidane and Garnet's romance, but had mixed feelings about the princess herself. This post helps clear a lot of that up for me and I really appreciate Garnet being celebrated for who she is, femininity and all.

➝ This An Overdue video of otters mobbing a delighted woman just makes me smile. They're so squeaky! She's so happy!

➝ This tweet's take on the "what do you want to be when you grow up" question really hit me hard. Boo capitalism!

This bird asks its unwell friend what's wrong and then kisses it! It's just TOO CUTE?


"There Once Was A Girl" outlines the importance of writing platonic relationships into the lives of bisexual characters (short summary: friendship is important and these relationships exist so now might be a good time to get on with writing them).

Getting A Job, A Short Story By Your Parents:

Regaining her composure, she leads you to an area marked "Interview Space." "We're basically always hiring," she says. "It's so weird to me how few people go out knocking on doors. They just don't know what's out there!" You wait for a while and read exciting magazine articles about the warming planet. You're not worried, and you're not mad at your parents or their friends or the system. You're not even thinking about sexting, which is what's been holding you back from a job this entire time. Between thinking up clever hashtags, doing selfies, and photographing your genitals for just whoever, you haven't had time to get a job. You're not mad at yourself, you're just disappointed. That's on you.

Ouch, sometimes satire is too real.

➝ Corinne Duyvis talks about Truth And Lies In Speculative Fiction, and explains how authors who engage with diversity are often presumed to be juggling multiple lies which endanger the reader's ability to connect with their story:

According to this idea, majority characters are the normal, unseen default, and a character with any other kind of background is a distraction. After all, why clog up a book with the microaggressions that a character from a marginalized group might encounter? Why deviate from the expected internal narrative by having a character consider issues that need never cross the minds of many privileged people? Why add in something so unnecessary as diversity, when we’ve got an asteroid hurtling toward Earth or an outbreak of zombie zoo animals to worry about?

As you can probably guess, I’m not a fan of this line of thinking.

➝ The link post for Diversiverse, Aarti's wonderful event which encourages bloggers to read and talk about books by chromatic authors, is live. Looking forward to learning about tons of books and contributing my own review.

Nominations for the 2015 Cybils are also open. This is the time to make sure your favourite kids and YA books of the year are in with a chance of winning.

Orphan Black Series 3 is finally available in the UK! The BBC decided to release all the episodes close together and to do virtually no marketing push for this series so some of you may not know it's out there. Never fear though you can still pick it up on iPlayer.

Patrick Ness is involved with a spin off of Doctor Who for younger viewers and I have no clue how to feel about this. On the one hand, I imagine Ness is capable of making amazing TV. On the other, I'm kind of stressed out about the idea of Ness coming under Moffat's influence.

➝ Tom Cox, wrote this highly entertaining post I Met a Dog On The Internet And I'm Not Ashamed About It which teaches people who live in Britain how to borrow a dog. Relevant to the interests of many people I know.

➝ Gonna end my section with a couple of pieces of stunning artwork. First a portrait in various stages of completion from [tumblr.com profile] leirebeart.

➝ And look at these beautiful drawings of women by [tumblr.com profile] prinnay. The first image is my favourite and I want someone to write a story to go with it.


Speculative Fiction 2015 is open for submissions! It's edited by Foz Meadows and Mark Oshiro this year and I am super excited to see what they come up with. Submit your speculative writing! Submit all the speculative writing your friends create! Don't self-reject!

[personal profile] owlmoose wrote a great essay about Agents of SHIELD and Skye's role on the show in the context of the first two seasons, Agents of Skye. Good stuff!

➝ I enjoyed the thoughts about queer fiction and the history we bring with us (or don't) when we read by [twitter.com profile] heatherosejones in Discussion of The Traitor Baru Cormorant on storify. Depending how you feel about spoilers, this does have slight ones for the characters and their circumstances, but doesn't tackle explicit plot spoilers (the things she links to, though, do).

➝ There's this podcast I love, [twitter.com profile] MysteryShow, did an episode about how tall Jake Gyllenhaal is. She solved it, but apparently some people were not satisfied and so Conan brought Jake Gyllenhaal on the show when Starlee Kine was there and they measured him. I'm in love with this whole story.

➝ If you are having a Tough Week, may I suggest this delightful interview with Sir Patrick Stewart?

Book Acquisitions

All my Goodreads friends added so many awesome books the last two weeks and I was Weak. >.>

Added TBR: The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins, Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer, The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley, Everfair by Nisi Shawl, Fantasy Girls: Gender in the New Universe of Science Fiction and Fantasy Television by Elyce Rae Helford, Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal, Babylon's Ashes by James S.A. Corey, The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow, Infomocracy by Malka Ann Older, False Hearts by Laura Lam, The Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster, The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig, The Edge of Worlds by Martha Wells, Cupcakes, Pinterest, and Ladyporn: Feminized Popular Culture in the Early Twenty-First Century edited by Elana Levine


Ryan Adams' 1989 and the mansplaining of Taylor Swift — I didn't even know this cover album existed until I saw the responses to the reviews. I'm completely unsurprised by the reviewers who refused to take Taylor Swift's version seriously, and this is a nice breakdown of the reactions.

It’s a response that will be eerily familiar to women across the globe who have sat in a meeting and watched as their ideas have been shot down, only to be taken seriously when co-opted by a male colleague. Who have listened to male friends repeat their own jokes back to them, as though they had hit on something funny utterly by accident. Even with the intention of celebrating her, Ryan Adams has made it possible for dozens of music journalists to mansplain Swift’s own album to her.

Manga is Huge, so why don't we talk about it more?

➝ And in a brief foray into true nerdiness: A Brief History of Homophobia in Dewey Decimal Classification! One thing I didn't consciously realise until I started working in a library was the amount of bias in the Dewey Decimal System (See also: the amount of space and detail given to Christianity and English fiction, as opposed to any other religion or language), so I'm really interested in how it changes and recategorises things as attitudes change. This article charts the moving of books on homosexuality from the section on mental illnesses to its current place in the social sciences, which is fascinating to me.

Date: 2015-10-08 08:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] readingtheend.pip.verisignlabs.com
>>On the one hand, I imagine Ness is capable of making amazing TV. On the other, I'm kind of stressed out about the idea of Ness coming under Moffat's influence.

YESSSSSSS all of this all day. I just -- I like Patrick Ness. If somebody asks, I don't want him to have to defend Steven Moffat because Coworkers. Blah.

Date: 2015-10-09 08:13 am (UTC)
bookgazing: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bookgazing
Eep I hadn't even thought of that!

Date: 2015-10-09 10:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] susanhatedliterature.net
Aliette de Boddard is next on my TBR list, I've been looking forward to that for a while now. I read the colonial article with huge interest, because, being Irish, colonialism isn't something abstract to my history. And yet, being white, Irish people escaped some of the racial impact, not at the time, I don't think, but now Irish is white, whereas a few generations ago it wasn't.
Which makes me really angry at Irish people who fail to see just how similar their own history is to the Syrian refugees, for example, and fail to recognise their own racism. I mean we are all racist, we live in a racist world and a racist society, but at least if we begin to acknowledge that fact we can maybe do something to address some of those issues.

Also, everyone should add Jane Eyre's Sisters by Jody Gentian Bower to their TBR lists, so much good stuff there about literature and feminism and all that good stuff.


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