The Week In Review: September 8, 2013

A Taste of Colorado: Archway in Civic Center

After an extremely rough start—my car got towed on Tuesday, requiring a very long and frustrating bus “adventure” that nonetheless ended in a victory at a local geek trivia night—Denver is starting to grow on me. At the very least, I’m finding my feet here,. I finished Will Grayson, Will Grayson this week, as well as Soulless by Gail Carriger. I’ve started on Wendy Moore’s How To Create the Perfect Wife, which is wildly engaging.

Links

While preparing to watch the Hugo Awards with Renay last Sunday, I read Catherynne M. Valente’s novelette “Fade to White,” which is just mind-blowingly good. Set in a warped version of the aftermath of World War II, it touches on gender, race, civilization, and the things we do to protect ourselves.

The next time J.J. Abrams calls Kirk a womanizer to imply that the original show didn’t do much with its ladies, remember that Star Trek: The Original Series featured a lot of different and interesting women. Some were definite bombs (oh, Elaan of Troyius), but there were enough of them that there was no risk of the lone representation. Laura Goodwin lists off a lot of them. The writing can be a little dated and odd (she calls Carol Marcus a “man hater” and imagines that Marcus stole Kirk’s hair to create their son, instead of an awkward collegiate one night stand), but the point is made.

There’s going to be a BBC reimagining of The Three Musketeers called The Musketeers, featuring Santiago Cabera as Aramis and Peter Capaldi as Richelieu. Will it be silly? Will it be faithful? I will love it either way.

Here are this year’s Hugo Award winners! We are now out of Redshirts at the store.

Did y’all know that there is an actual Unofficial Wizard of New York? I love New York.

Deep fried s’mores. Deep fried s’mores. I miss the South so much.

Kevin Wada’s slick, Egyptian Catwoman redesign is so good.

Over at the Billfold, two freelance writers in their late twenties talk about the symbolic value of money, especially in New York City. I am fascinated by symbolic shorthand—for instance, my mother uses “PhD” interchangeably with “solid, dependable salary,” which is really hilarious for someone in my field—so this was interesting.

Via io9, here’s a third century Chinese account of the Roman Empire. Destabilize your worldview, fellow Westerners!

Ash author Malinda Lo responds to an article lamenting the lack of classic fiction featuring women in non-romantic settings by asking why romantic settings are a bad thing. I fall on the side of “all the ladies doing all the things,” thus giving us so much representation that there is no one female story and sidestepping this sort of thing completely, but what Lo points out is the basis of sexism and femmephobia—assuming that the traditionally masculine thing is more natural and superior than the traditionally feminine thing.

Pacific Rim co-writer Travis Beacham tells us about the pilots of the Nova Hyperion, a pair of lady South Korean fencing champions who were once bitter rivals. Ladies, start your word processors.

This week, I encountered a pair of heels that reaffirmed my love of the medium (they were the kind of shoes you’d wear to your coronation as the Imperatrix of the Galaxy if you were feeling a bit short) and had a conversation about whether or not heels are inherently oppressive. The BBC reminds us that heels were originally quite studly.

When I was a wee lass, I had a Lisa Frank journal depicting a female cat and a male dog getting married. I often wondered why they were specifically gendered that way—what about lady dogs? Surely, they existed in the world of Lisa Frank? I have no answers for my younger self, only this short documentary about Frank, featuring her astonishing archives.

Ian McKellen is playing a retired Sherlock Holmes in a film adaptation of Mitch Cullin’s novel A Slight Trick of the Mind. Pound the alarm, people.

Happy sixth birthday, Organization for Transformative Works!

Paul Cook, noted old white dude, claims that sf with romance isn’t really sf and that romance is for all those boring bits that girls like. He then gets offended that people are calling him sexist for this. Foz Meadows delivers the critical hit.

TrekMovie posts a measured editorial about how the fandom, according to two different polls, is disappointed in general with Star Trek Into Darkness and proposes some changes for the franchise, including questioning whether Star Trek should be a film or a television series. Bob Orci, the co-writer of the film, turns up to call them “shitty fans” who should “fuck off.” How hard is it to say “I’m sorry the film wasn’t your cup of tea, but thanks for your opinion and I hope you like the next one” when faced by respectful, constructive criticism? This is just beyond unprofessional. I’ll be in my Star Trek: The Next Generation blanket fort, thank you.

Captain Awkward tells us how to deal with the passive-aggressive. In my personal experience, aggressively not making it a big deal often helps: the well-meaning passive-aggressive is passive because they don’t want to “cause a scene.” But the guy in this post is not a well-meaning passive-aggressive at all.

Possible cinematic Captain Marvel Katee Sackhoff’s Geek photoshoot includes her in costume as Captain Kirk and the Fourth Doctor. She looks adorable with sideburns!

Coldplay’s new single for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is exactly what I wanted. The way the film adaptations are executing their very specific aesthetic is really wonderful to see.

As Star Trek: The Original Series went into its third and final season, Gene Roddenberry gave his team of writers a memo on how the characters should be written. The fact that he specifically mentions that Spock and McCoy should fight more because it’s great character stuff that the fans are eating up just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Here’s the trailer for Merlin‘s spiritual successor, Atlantis, about a young Jason faced with his destiny. I didn’t square with Merlin, although I’m planning to give it another shot soon, but let’s face it, I loved Troy. I’m going to like this.

The Pacific Rim DVD will include a blooper reel (oh, and a bunch of other cool stuff). Thanks, universe!

Acquisitions

Purchased: None
Added: A Saucer of Loneliness by Theodore Sturgeon (via the comments to Foz Meadows’ post), Louder Than Hell by Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman (via work), After the King edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Jane Yolen (via work), Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs (via work), and Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (via work)

6 thoughts on “The Week In Review: September 8, 2013

  1. Wow, Paul Cook. Way to bring all the classiness. Ugh, what a jerk. Also, I love how quickly the comments on the article are like “I don’t like what he’s saying but FREE SPEECH.” If I had a nickel for every time I have done a condescending mental explanation of what free speech is to the internet, I would be able to buy myself that camel I’ve always dreamed of.

  2. I ended up reading a good many “Chronicle of the Western Regions” from various official histories for one of my seminars in grad school–I was researching the topic of urban development in Central Asia from the beginning of the Han dynasty to the end of the Tang, but most had an account of Da Qin tucked away in those descriptions too. The print version of John E. Hill’s translation from sections of the Hou Hanshu describing the Western Regions (which is also available online) is massive and absolutely fascinating. I’ve never seen a scholar go quite as crazy on the footnotes as Hill did. His translations from the Weilue have yet to appear in book form yet, but I was ludicrously thankful that he put them up online.

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