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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.


Elizabeth Minkel talks about the difference between fanfiction and licensed spin-offs in the context of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

➝ Whatever happened to Superwholock, the crossover fandom that once defined tumblr? Tumblr users get to the bottom of a fascinating recent piece of fan history.


➝ I was super bummed to hear that my favorite late-night TV show, The Nightly Show, would be suddenly cancelled, without even being allowed to finish out the election season. (I still need to watch the last week's episodes, which apparently throw a fair bit of shade on Comedy Central.) Losing Larry Wilmore and Why It Matters to TV, Women, and the Nation by Angela Bonavoglia covers a lot of my feelings on the subject. Wilmore and his show gave a great platform to voices we don't see much on network TV, especially women of color — half of his correspondent team were women, all of them women of color, including the first black woman to be head writer on a major network's late night show. The show could be uneven at times, but plenty of shows are given more time to find a voice with less success along the way, and it sucks that Comedy Central didn't give it more of a chance.

➝ Speaking of TV shows being unceremoniously cancelled, according to a report in The Mary Sue ABC never consulted with Marvel Studios regarding the cancellation of Agent Carter. Although I doubt this is unusual in most cases, given that both ABC and Marvel are owned by Disney it does surprise me a bit here, especially since Marvel is so focused on large-scale cross-media planning.

➝ I've always thought of the TV show Parks & Recreation as an AU of what might have happened if Hillary Clinton had gotten into local government, so this piece on learning to like Clinton by getting to know Leslie Knope resonated hard.

➝ There's been a lot written over the last couple of weeks about the sexism embedded in media coverage of the Rio Olympics, and rightly so. This Vox article by Emily Crockett provides a good overview through the lens of one example — Michael Phelps's silver medal in the 100 butterfly getting top newspaper billing over Katie Ledecky's record-shattering swimming performances. I particularly appreciate Crockett's take on "reasonable" explanations for sexist media coverage:

But this newspaper’s front page illustrates how one of the most frustrating things about sexism is both how insidious it can be and how that very quality makes it so easy for some people to deny that sexism is really a problem. Just as it’s possible for a person to say something sexist without intending to demean women, it’s also possible for a "reasonable" explanation — like, say, Phelps being more famous than Ledecky — to either not be the whole story or to be beside the point.

For instance, the headline could have been influenced both by basic news judgment and by latent sexist assumptions about how important women athletes are or aren’t. At the very least, it showed some blind spots about how sexism works and is perceived.

Part of me is hoping that all this attention to sexism in the coverage will help improve things going forward, but I'm not exactly holding my breath. Still, I don't remember hearing this much about the problem during previous Olympics (and it's not as though there wasn't sexist media coverage in past Olympics!), so maybe we can get some change out of it.

The Bechdel Test in Gaming is an extensive look at different ways the Bechdel-Wallace Test might be applied to videogames. The classic formulation doesn't map neatly to games for a number of reasons, including the interactive nature of games and the sheer number of hours of content. This article examines a number of alternatives, including this fascinating formulation that turns the lens of the test on the interactions between the main character and the player.

Alexandra Erin pens a beautiful piece on fandom, the con scene, and the Hugo Awards. It was written before this year's ceremony, but it still holds up perfectly. Love is real!

A man holding up an award and shouting Love Is Real


I went to Worldcon and got to meet so many cool authors. I'm still processing my emotions. ;___;

➝ I got Cats vs Cucumbers Compilation from Ira. I had never seen this before and I made myself cry laughing.

➝ The trailer for Arrival with Amy Adams looks super great!

➝ Here's a purring parrot.

➝ There's a new Twitter called [twitter.com profile] vidannounce, where people can announce their new stuff and have it retweeted. I hope lots of vidders use this! I would love for it to become a great resource. :D

➝ This list of relaxing video games is so tempting. I'm a little suspicious about the inclusion of Two Dots on this list, though.


"Superior", a new piece of short fiction by Jessica Lack, is out from Book Smugglers Publishing. I read half of this before Worldcon ate me and it's super cute!

Book Acquisitions

Added TBR: Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee, The Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Arden, Water in Plain Sight: Hope for a Thirsty World by Judith D. Schwartz, Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee, The Archived by Victoria Schwab, Superwomen: Gender, Power, and Representation by Carolyn Cocca, Galileo's Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science by Alice Dreger, Around the Way Girl by Taraji P. Henson, Agents of Dreamland by Caitlín R. Kiernan, Going Geek by Charlotte Huang, Tetris: The Little Game That Took Over the World by Box Brown, Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Cold-Forged Flame by Marie Brennan, Hammers on Bone by Cassandra Khaw

Date: 2016-08-27 06:04 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
Renay, sorry we never crossed paths. I was looking forward to meeting you, but it was not to be.

Date: 2016-08-27 06:07 am (UTC)
renay: artist rendition of the center of a nebula (Default)
From: [personal profile] renay
Yeah, I way over-scheduled myself and had to take lots of breaks. :(((( I missed so many people! I guess the next time I go to a con I'll have to adjust how I do things.


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