Okay, so I might not have been able to go to New York Comic Con like all the cool people, but I did get to go to my first trade show this week as a bookseller and meet a lot of other cool people. Working around that’s been a little hectic, scheduling wise, but that’s evened out now. I made my way through The Handmaid’s Tale, The Poker Bride, and Soulbound this week.
Cliff Chiang did a series of classic eighties film soundtrack covers as populated by superheroes. So, you know, totally up my alley.
Malinda Lo breaks down the statistics for 2013’s crop of queer young adult fiction, touching on straightwashed summaries (Cass knows what I’m talking about), the availability of such material (niche publishers don’t have much of a presence in school libraries), and the continued decline of queer female characters.
Chaka Cumberbatch demands more representation for black lady nerds in geek culture. Her story about a young girl only realizing that black girls are “allowed” to be geeks after seeing her in her Huntress regalia is both inspiring and heartbreaking.
I am utterly fascinated by pop culture ephemera; living in an age of instant access, it’s the stuff that falls through the cracks that catches my eye. Over the course of Doctor Who’s fifty years, 106 episodes have gone missing, although this week’s discovery of tapes at a Nigerian television station has put that number down to 95. io9 breaks down how that could even happen and how you go about recovering these lost episodes.
The Sleepy Hollow writers and the Elementary writers had a good-natured Twitter war this week. I want them to be best friends.
tumblr user boocheesie talks about identifying with the superheroine Miss America and representation in media. The concept of a character who could be you is a brilliant angle:
But never have I felt a pull so strongly to a character as one that looked like me, that I could be without a wig, without someone telling me I wasn’t the right skin tone. Never have I felt more empowered, felt like I could actually get up and be somebody, than when I discovered a hero that looked like me and could be me. All this time, I thought I knew what it was like to truly identify with characters, because I didn’t care that everyone I identified with/wanted to be didn’t look like me. But when I found Miss America, the world stopped and I knew I could never look at things the same.
Crimes Against Nature is a picture book highlighting supposedly “unnatural” occurrences in nature—like species that change sex, species where the females are socially superior to males, and species where same-sex couples pair off regularly. You can read it for free online here! It’s also available as a physical book.
On the one hand, I don’t really like the title of Barely Lethal. On the other hand, it’s an action film about a teenage girl who is also an assassin played by Hailee Steinfeld. Sophie Turner (of Game of Thrones) has signed on to play one of Steinfeld’s nemeses, who is, presumably, also a teenage assassin. Oh, please let this be good.
I never did a frame-by-frame analysis for the latest Hobbit trailer, did I? It’s because I am only 75% excited for it, given my issues with the first one. But I am still excited, especially for more Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Tauriel, Elven Warrior Princess. (I have decided that she and Lindir are a couple.) Anyway, TheOneRing.Net crew has a fantastic frame-by-frame analysis for your perusal.
Johannah King-Slutzky gives us the rise of pumpkin spice beverages as an official sign of fall. Touches on Christmas creep, class-identified foodstuffs, and fertility.
Emily Nussbaum’s 2002 “Confessions of a Spoiler Whore” is a heartening defense of the joys of fan culture, especially along the often contested border between fans and creators:
In the early days of the Web, there was a lot of chatter about how it would supersede television—that supposedly bland, passive art form. But instead of replacing television, the Web has embraced it. And without anyone really paying heed, the viewers at home have become two parallel audiences: the isolates and the plugged-in. And God help me, plugged-in is better. It’s hard, at first, to think of television as a participatory habit. It’s supposed to be solitary and disposable. But being plugged-in turns television into a shared event, much like movies or going to the theater. Like literary criticism, it provides tools of analysis that alter the whole experience of watching: giving access to the process, not just the results. At the most basic level, being plugged-in means becoming invested in the creation of the show, rather than simply a passive recipient.
A decade later, she dissects the appeal of Ryan Murphy and his work as very specific examples of camp at The New Yorker.
Here’s the latest trailer for Dear Mr. Watterson, a documentary about Calvin & Hobbes and its elusive creator. The Calvin & Hobbes collections were the only comics of my brothers that I did not rampage through, because I loved them so much their laminated covers started peeling off.
Lois Lane might be getting a self-titled series next year? Sounds like a reason to rewatch The Adventures of Lois & Clark. (Although everything sounds like a reason to rewatch that show, honestly.)
The Oxford Reference Library is offering two weeks of free access due to the government shutdown in the US.
Tor.com’s Rachel Hyland continues her whirlwind tour of classic Doctor Who with the highlights of the adventures of the Fifth Doctor.
Given Alice Munro’s Nobel Prize for literature win this week, you might want to know where to start with her short stories. Slate’s Lowen Liu has just the sampler for you, complete with links to three stories available online.
Bella Pagan at Tor.com gives us a publishing jargon glossary, as gleaned from the Pan Macmillan UK offices! With this firmly in hand, I can now say that the flocking on the cover to this one middle grade book we have at work makes my teeth itch whenever it scrapes up against anything.
Lee Daniels wants to make an action movie starring an interracial gay couple. Apparently, we will only discover this at the end of the movie. But we’ve already discovered this fact! I’m confused as how this reveal will work, but, nonetheless, hope that this goes forward and happens.
Added: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (via work)