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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 really enjoyed House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer back when I read it, so I am excited to hear that there's a sequel arriving soon, titled The Lord of Opium. The article also mentioned: "Scorpion has sold nearly a million copies in North America and remains the only book to win the National Book Award, a Newbery Honor, and a Printz Honor in the same year." That's amazing.

This is a great interview with Junot Díaz done last September. I love to read this man's thoughts on culture and gender. He always frames it in a way that makes me consider it differently than I had beforehand. I really need to make time for his first novel.

➝ I was really excited to see that Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti was being republished and followed by two sequels. Looks like this has been pushed back. Publisher, it is fine to push it back to make sure they are extra ready! But if "pushing back" becomes "OOPS, CANCELED", we have a problem.

Fry from Futurama holding out several bill with text saying shut up and take my money

The Fault in Our Stars film seems to be on track. I'm really excited about it, because I plan to be in the theater with packs of tissues to hand out to people around me who foolishly didn't bring any (ugh, emotional movies. EVERY TIME.) Except...

"It’s also a book that if you’re an adult, to call it YA really minimizes the appeal of the book because you love that time in your life," Marty added.

Woman pointing at someone off screen and saying you better watch it with text repeating her statement at the bottom of the image.

The part of Riley Matthews for Girl Meets World has been cast! I am so ridiculously excited about this. I hope Jodie is prepared for me to flail over episodes with her. *____*

➝ Last summer, author Jane Rogers shared a list of her cosy catastrophe stories as well as a breakdown of the term's past, and what they mean to her. I have read exactly zero, although a few I've had my eye on.

Warning for discussion of sexual abuse of women and children. So. Dragon*Con And The Silence Of The Us Sff Community. Seems like it might be a good thing.


circle with text saying *things that are okay* with a dot outside with an arrow that says *this post*

It is by far the worst call to action I have seen in a long time. It may also be triggering as hell depending on what triggers you, so be careful.

Here's what I know: abuse of children is horrible. Another thing I know: abuse of women is horrible. Neither should happen, but often do. Yes, the issue of the Dragon*Con founder getting money from the convention to support his abuse of children and avoid prosecution for abusing children is troubling and gross. I will never attend Dragon*Con. That's a choice I can make for myself since I could find an opportunity to attend — it's a convention in the American South where I live, and one I have looked at in the past. But I don't make an issue out of it and tell my friends who do go that they're horrible, deplorable people, either, because they're not. The topic is complicated and we might not have the whole picture. Also, I find discussion of child abuse triggering as hell when I don't know what to expect from strangers also discussing the same topics and find discussion surrounding what people "should" do unrewarding and full of dead ends.

Additionally, I write about women's issues when I have something to say that furthers a conversation. That's my choice. I won't be shamed into anything else.

"Aren't these people concerned that money from a major SFF Con is used to keep a person who is accused of multiple accounts of child molestation out of jail? Isn't child molestation worse than creeping out grown women?"

Emphasis mine. I also enjoyed the assumption that the wider SF/F community is already aware of this followed by the implicit charge that people not posting about it don't care about children, but it's okay, because he does and he's going to hold people not talking about this accountable by appealing to the conscience.

Further along you get some monolith American rhetoric and charges that Americans as a people think molesting kids is a-okay because from his perspective he didn't see any outcry about an issue that in actual fact was as divisive and revealing as any high-profile event like that can be in American culture. This isn't about women versus children and who Americans think is more important, but about a founder of a convention being an abuser, and how, if at all, we should engage in things he may or may not have a hand in and what that means for our fan communities. Jesus, was there ever a consideration that this perspective over one single issue as compared to another might be biased and maybe further research might be needed? Get off.

"This isn't something that you can keep silent about if you have a shred of integrity."

Please feel free to ride that integrity horse right off a cliff, you assumptive, ignorant blowhard.

"Personally I think that if you keep silent about this you have lost your right to speak up about other issues".

Personally I think that if someone opens his mouth to start equating Americans and women's right supporters not speaking out about an issue to people who silently propagate a culture in which child abuse goes unchecked, he has lost his right to speak about anything without a big sign that says "I Post Things That Are Ill-Researched, Accusatory Nonsense Because I Have a Limited Perspective I'm Not Acknowledging and I Need to Educate Myself and Be Better".

"And if you really want to show that all your talk about social issues isn't just grandstanding to get "Brownie-points", you'll make an announcement that you will have nothing to do with Dragon*Con until they make sure that Kramer gets no money."

Actually, I'll continue doing exactly what I want, which is, as a SF/F fan, to keep talking about women and women's issues, to never attend Dragon*Con, and to talk about other issues of abuse/oppression of other groups when I want and not when someone else tells me I should. That's my choice. It's a valid choice to avoid, frankly, excessively stressful debates involving sexual abuse of children and "proper" fan protocol where opinions (and tempers) will always run high. This thread at The Mary Sue proves that point handily. No one is required to speak, no matter what the topic is, and potentially enter a debate that's going to be controversial and exhausting, especially when our opinion has no bearing on the legal issues facing the convention.

Protip: the way to rally people to your cause is not to shame them into participation. Huge swathes of this post were contemptible. Ugh.

➝ Anyway, to end on an awesome note instead of an infuriating one, here's Jennifer Lawrence being snarky about ignorant questions during press.

text that says Ana's Section

Jeanne at Necromancy Never Pays reviewed Carl Wilson's Let's Talk About Love (which I also really enjoyed and managed to generate a really interesting discussion about what people expect from blogs and from criticism in general in the comments.

Iris, this one’s for you: Academic Men Explain Things To Me, a tumblr where women in academia vent about their patronising colleagues:

Are you a female academic, researcher, or graduate student? Has a man tried to explain your field or topic to you, on the assumption that he must inevitably know more about it than you do? Share your experiences as a mansplainee here.

➝ YALSA's annual lists are here! I always get great recommendations from their lists of Best Fiction for Young Adults and Great Graphic Novels.

➝ Lastly, this Guardian review of Raising Girls by Steve Biddulph is troubling in several different ways. I've not read any of Biddulph's books, but I came across him when doing research for my MA dissertation and he struck me as yet another "I'm not saying it's aliens, but it's aliens" essentialist – which means that I can't help but be suspicious of him. Jordan’s review says,

Though Biddulph's books are busy with pop facts from the kinds of research studies challenged in Cordelia Fine's Delusions of Gender or Natasha Walter's Living Dolls – girl babies "prefer" looking at faces, boys are "hardwired" to deal with objects and systems, etc, etc – his project has always been gently antisexist. Discussing the different ways adults speak to boy and girl toddlers, he says: "I am sure that no parent ever sets out to disadvantage their girls around useful number skills, yet we unconsciously start making the boys practical and the girls emotionally focused. So here's a suggestion, perhaps we ought to reverse this."

As much as I agree with what he says at the end, I can't just let go of intellectual rigour as long as people are, you know, making up pop facts for a good cause. We don't need to resort to pseudoscience to support an antisexist project. The truth will do just fine.

(And don't get me started on the fact that the review strongly suggests that Biddulph's antisexism seems to consist of discouraging girls from engaging with anything trained by traditional femininity, instead of deconstructing these scales of worth to begin with.)

text that says Jodie's Section

➝ In 'farewell Coretta' Zetta Elliott talks about the vastly homogenous racial picture of childrens lit in the US and problems with the Correta Scott King award. She also talks about leaving childrens lit after her next two SF novels are published, which makes me sad, but which is not exactly a surprise considering what I've gathered about her specific frustrations with the industry from reading her blog.I admire her very much for deciding to try something else to further her goals and hopes for the world.

➝ A piece about plus size fashion blogs explains why self-love is radical. All the ladies featured look amazing and lead me to wonder if maybe I too could wear floral patterned trousers…

Three links from Bookslut:

Jessa Crispin writes a response to 'Feminism Fizzles' by Rachel Shtier, which also takes in the wearying news that there's another 'controversial' book about feminism on its way.

'Let's stop thinking of women as this single, easily definable, homogeneous demographic, maybe? No more Betty Friedan. No more talking for "all women." Not until you're ready to notice how diverse and interesting that half of the human species actually is.'

➝ The main magazine has an interview with Jeanne Thornton about her novel 'The Dream of Dr Bantam', which I had never heard of before but want so much now. I rarely read author interviews (I generally find the questions asked a snooze) but this ranges over so many interesting topics apart from the book like publishing, food and comics that it drew me in.

➝ I love Elizabeth Bachner's writing. Someone is planning to give her all the awards right? Here is her excellent feature essay 'The End of the Affair: Reading 'Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life.' ' from the January edition of Bookslut which builds and builds from a few simple ideas and images of warm places she stands outside.

Date: 2013-02-04 10:25 am (UTC)
bookgazing: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bookgazing
I am so prepared! But where will I get them from?

Date: 2013-02-04 05:47 pm (UTC)
renay: artist rendition of the center of a nebula (Default)
From: [personal profile] renay
Oh, you know! Places. >.>

Date: 2013-02-05 05:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theliteraryomnivore.wordpress.com
The Dragon*Con issue is particularly sensitive for me, as an Atlantan; it was my first big con, remained my only con throughout high school and college, and this information comes out the year I don't buy my ticket in advance because I have no idea where I'll be come next Labor Day Weekend. I'm just—I'm just still parsing it out, but the idea of someone trying to shame me into action either way is gross.

Date: 2013-02-06 02:32 am (UTC)
renay: artist rendition of the center of a nebula (Default)
From: [personal profile] renay
A lot of the rhetoric around attendees to the con have been bad, but this is the first I have seen of someone just owning the shame spiral and using it, ha, to grandstand as the person holding the wider SF/F community accountable for their behavior towards Dragon*Con. It's like flinging poo in your own house. I don't get it.

Date: 2013-02-06 10:41 am (UTC)
nymeth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nymeth
I wanted to edit this in, but I guess I'll just leave it as a comment: EXACTLY.


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Ira is an illustrator and gamer who decided that disagreeing with everyone would be a good way to spend their time on the internet. more? » twitter icon tumblr icon AO3 icon

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