Tuesday was October first, so I am officially calling it: it’s the holidays! For me, the holidays run from the first day of October to the day after Easter. Let the baking, celebrating, and after holiday sales commence! As this is my first holiday season as a working woman, I’m eager to start some traditions. For instance, on Tuesday, I bought and ate, for the first time in my life, Franken Berry and Count Chocula cereal. And then I made marshmallow treats out of them because I’m an adult. I also plan on watching Hocus Pocus, because I’ve decided that’s my Halloween movie.
This week, I got through How to Watch Television and Connie Willis’ Doomsday Book. I’m currently getting through The Poker Bride, which I’ve been enjoying, and The Handmaid’s Tale on audiobook.
Did you know that Velveeta was invented to be healthier than regular cheese? Four Pounds Flour’s Sarah Lohman breaks it down.
Disney continues its program of live-action adaptations of their animated fare with Cruella. While Maleficient will undoubtedly be sympathetic and Cinderella needs Lady Tremaine to remain evil (I’m getting excited just thinking about Cate Blanchett’s cutting eyes), I really hope Cruella is just about Cruella clawing her way to the top of the fashion empire and losing her grip on what’s appropriate. Basically, I want “A COAT MADE OUT OF ADORABLE PUPPIES!” to be the last stop on a train whose first stop was “A VEST MADE FROM THE HAIR OF ALBINO CHILDREN!”.
tumblr user dorodraws has an occasional genderbent Disney series. Girl!Aladdin (I’m not sure what the feminine form of Aladdin would be) and Princess Philippa both have amazing princess outfits.
As DC wrings its hands about how it would be difficult, fan creators are proving that it can be done. A few costuming niggles aside, this gets Diana kicking butt in the present day and fondly remembering her days back on Paradise Island, surrounded by fellow lady warriors.
Daryl Cunningham gives us a graphic biography of Ayn Rand. Fascinating stuff.
elf is producing Disney Villainess make-up sets, including a nail polish set.
Ana at the Book Smugglers tackles Alaya Dawn Johnson’s The Summer Prince and its representation of Brazil. It’s a really interesting piece about diversity in sf and how the best intentions can’t make up for getting things wrong.
The mod at medievalpoc offers a response to wanting both diversity and colorblindness in a text: “In fact, because your writing exists in the world WE live in, not in a vacuum independent of the world you and your audience live in, it IS a part of the plot, whether you want it to be or not.” I think a good example to pull would be Star Trek’s Sulu—his ethnicity and heritage have absolutely no bearing on the plot of the series and are never brought up, but it’s still important to have an Asian-American on the bridge of the USS Enterprise, both then and now.
The Organization for Transformative Works is having a membership drive! Toss in what you can to support this crucial voice for fandom. Their Legal Committee is also seeking (anonymous) stories about skills people have learned from fan activity. Those are due October 10th.
Black Girl Dangerous proposes doing away with the term “ally”, given that many a supposed ally wants a cookie for being a decent human being:
“Ally” cannot be a label that someone stamps onto you–or, god forbid, that you stamp on to yourself—so you can then go around claiming it as some kind of identity. It’s not an identity. It’s a practice. It’s an active thing that must be done over and over again, in the largest and smallest ways, every day.
Foz Meadows is tired of fighting the good fight against misogyny and other forms of oppression in the speculative fiction community, but she’s not stopping.
Saturday Night Live cast member Jay Pharoah talks about the show’s lack of diversity (this season saw six new hires—five men, one woman, all white) and his experiences on the show.
October is LGBT History Month and, as Malinda Lo has declared, YA Pride! She’s giving away nineteen young adult books featuring queer protagonists in five bundles over the course of the whole month. Toss your hat into the ring!
The irony of a viral video creator quitting her job because her boss only cares about hits in a video that has earned 13 million views on YouTube is delicious.
ReBoot is getting rebooted. As we’ve discussed, I watched television sparsely and randomly as a child, but I do remember watching several episodes of this. I have no feelings either way on this, I just wanted to point out that I find early computer animation like this really soothing for some reason.
Tor.com’s Rachel Hyland tackles the highlights of the Fourth Doctor.
Here’s the Adult Wednesday Addams webseries you didn’t realize was missing from your life.
At lady business, Renay reviews Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys, and it’s brilliant. I couldn’t limit myself to one quote, so here’s two:
I question the argument from Elitist Book Reviews that the “intense” description of desire overpowers The Raven Boys, and squint at the way the story’s romance is presented as almost a negative, as well (“books for chicks”? Really?). Can we please not undermine or devalue the experiences of our young adults, especially our girls, by pretending that as adults (whatever our gender) we don’t yearn for love, or physical affection, or the warm feeling we get when we’re with someone we love, who loves us back? Reaching out for affection, when it is unclear it is on offer, can be terrifying at any age, and this story cuts to the heart of that fear. Accepting affection, even when we know it is guaranteed and comes with no strings, can be terrifying, and this story cuts to the heart of that fear, too. These young people yearn because they are growing and learning to understand what it is they want from the people around them. Emotional growth and maturity are important, valuable lessons that we really shouldn’t stop learning as we grow. Otherwise, how do we keep connecting with new people throughout our lives?
Have we become so derisive of love and affection that we allow ourselves to erase entire books of complicated relationships and magic and wonder and heartbreak over a love story? How much derision will we, as a culture, continue to swallow regarding the importance of love in our lives and in the stories we tell each other, discuss, and reward with our accolades? Will we continue to build idols to the idea that masculinity is the last bastion of freedom from girl cooties? Will we defend the idea that there’s some arbitrary, natural divide between “stuff for girls” and “stuff for boys” that goes beyond cultural training? Will we keep building a narrative history that treats women as objects and devalue stories where men and women are equally important to the foundation of a relationship, whether it be romantic or otherwise? Will we keep pretending that characters build relationships while standing still, instead of building them along ley lines, on battlefields, while exploring star systems, on alien planets, and that everything else a novel could contain is overshadowed by the mere idea of feelings? Why else do we read a story but to feel?
Beyond is a queer speculative fiction comic anthology coming out next year! If you’d like to contribute, submissions open October 14th.
io9’s latest open channel asks, “Has a story ever changed your mind about a controversial subject?”
At one point in Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life (the first one is better, despite Lara punching a shark in this one), Lara realizes that the MacGuffin is in Africa. “Oh, honey,” I told my computer, “you are going to have be a lot more specific.” The politics of map projections is actually quite fascinating, but I’ll contain myself to simply directing you to this chart that depicts Africa’s real size by shoving several non-African countries in for emphasis. You can get China, India, and the United States in there with plenty of room to spare.
Halloween is right around the corner! Chescaleigh breaks down why racist costumes are offensive.
At The Rumpus, Emily Rapp explodes the idea of female competition by focusing on how powerful female friendships can be. Gorgeous stuff.
Added: Sweets: A History of Candy by Tim Richardson (via Four Pounds Flour), What You Want Is in the Limo by Michael Walker (via work), The Wrecking Crew by Kent Hartman (via work), You Don’t Know Me But You Don’t Like Me by Nathan Rabin (via work), Queens of Noise by Evelyn McDonnell (via work), The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler (via work), The Art of Sleeping Alone by Sophie Fontanel (via work)