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.
➝ Shibden Hall is an upcoming miniseries about the 19th century lesbian diarist Anne Lister’s love story with Ann Walker. I love period wlw media, so this is right up my alley.
➝ Donnie Yen should ABSOLUTELY play Namor. Come on, guys, it’s just obvious!
➝ I’ve been binging The Great British Bake-Off on Netflix—they’ve added two seasons!—and I’m a bit sad that future versions of the show will lack Mary Berry, Sue Perkins, and Mel Giedroyc. But I am both delighted and baffled that Sue and Mel are being replaced by Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding, a.k.a. the man who taught me how to dress via imitation. This is gonna get weird.
➝ The new Power Rangers movie has a moment where we learn that the Yellow Ranger (a lady) might be having girlfriend troubles (also traditionally a lady). Any LGBTQ representation in genre is okay in my book, but I’d rather it be more overt. Also, the fact that this film does not include a heavy metal cover of the Powers Rangers theme song means it is dead to me.
➝ Hadley Freeman asks, "Why do so many male journalists think female stars are flirting with them?" I quite agree with the conclusion that men are conditioned not to see emotional labor, and therefore we end up with interviewers who can’t understand the fact that an actress is being charming in an interview because it’s her job to promote her new film.
➝ And from that Freeman article: I originally dodged this Tom Hiddleston profile in GQ, because it sounded boring, but it is, in fact, a work of open-hearted shade. I highly recommend it.
➝ Fiyah magazine have published The 2016 Black SFF Writer Survey Report about the experiences of black science fiction and fantasy writers in the industry:
With this survey, we are attempting to add what is probably the most neglected–and most important–perspective to the conversation: that of black writers themselves.
Our survey responses give us a clearer picture of who these writers are: global, writing in multiple genres, at various stages in their writing careers. In this report, we seek to collect and spotlight information and opinions of these black speculative fiction writers. We feel that this kind of insight is invaluable for a true assessment of black writers’ attitudes regarding their treatment by markets that publish short form speculative fiction and by publishing in general.
Remember how Muhammad Ali's son was detained during the first Muslim travel ban in the US? Well, he got detained again after travelling to protest his first detention.
➝ It's award season in Lit-land & Jacob Ross has won the inaugural Jhalak Prize for The Bone Readers. Yay! I really liked this one (although I listed some important warnings in my review).
➝ The Tiptree Award and Honour lists are out. Every year I'm like 'I must read more Tiptree books' and every year I fail but I do own a ton of the books on this list so maybe 2017 is the year I make good.
➝ And the Baileys longlist is also out. Oh, Baileys *sigh*. This list is #sowhite (3 books by chromatic authors out of 16 books).
➝ Here's a really interesting article from Film Crit Hulk SMASH about Storytelling vs. Movie Essence. I admit I am often won over by essence but then sometimes I am just not (*cough* Guardians of the Galaxy *cough*). This piece helped me to understand what magic essence works & also encouraged me to think more deeply about whether practical craft is being overridden by the sensation of essence.
➝ io9 provides this valuable public service: a summary of the important events in Iron Fist so there's no need to watch the series (which is reviewing terribly -- and most reviewers are mentioning the casting of a white actor in the lead role as among the show's biggest problems) in order to understand The Defenders when it comes out this fall.
➝ I came across A People's History of the Marvel Universe by Steven Attewell in the midst of my last-minute Hugo reading last week. It's a look at how Marvel wrote real-world politics into its comics, specifically Captain America and the X-Men. I haven't finished the whole series yet, but the bits I've gotten through are fascinating. (Also more evidence that Nick Spencer has no idea what he's doing.)
➝ Tor.com posted a collection of flash fiction for International Women's Day on the theme of Nevertheless, She Persisted. I haven't had the chance to sit down and read them yet, but I'm really looking forward to it!
➝ Advocacy Microtalks 2017: Challenging the Industry in 20 slides. is a series of ten talks from GDC (Game Developers Conference), each speaker limited to 20 slides, each of which is displayed for 16 seconds. The final speaker was Anita Sarkeesian, who talked about diversity and inclusion in video games, as illustrated by a series of cat gifs. Her talk starts at about the one hour mark, but the other talks are also well worth watching. Other topics included women in professional video game competitions (aka esports), the challenges of game localization for gendered languages, the portrayal of Arabs in games, developing educational games for refugee children, and a project to teach game design to kids in and around the juvenile justice system.
➝ Our own owlmoose went to Fogcon and did a write up, and the first day has a summary of what sounds like a cool discussion of genre:
Someone in the audience asked why genre bending seems to be more of an issue with speculative fiction than other genres, and after some discussion we all came up with an intriguing theory: other genres of fiction (mystery, thriller, romance, etc.) tend to be defined by their plot structures, while speculative fiction genres are defined by their elements (spaceships, wizards, being set in the future...) but can follow almost any structure.
➝ I am linking to this one, because it is the single greatest, most pulp-action, headline I have seen all year: Explorers searching for cursed city of the monkey god nearly lose their faces to flesh-eating disease.
➝ The screenplays for this year's Oscar nominees have gone up for (free, legal) download!