Of course it snowed the day I decided to go on a magical adventure to a grocery salvage store. (The grocery salvage store was as magical as promised.) This winter is going to be very interesting. The other most exciting thing to happen to me this week is that our oven died, but that should get cleared up tomorrow. I mean, I’m doing something mysteriously exciting today, but I’ll tell you about that next weekend. As far as books go, I read A Curious Invitation and I’m still working through Let’s Talk About Love.
Robot Hugs reminds us that gender essentialism isn’t real and that everybody communicates differently, regardless of gender.
Kate Elliott visits the Book Smugglers to talk about fanart and The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal, a short, illustrated coda to her Spirit Walker series. Not only is it a giveaway (huzzah!), but Elliott has some very smart insights about interacting with her fans and knowing the weight of God Moding.
Here is the joke: that guys like looking at boobies more than they like empathising with women.
Here is the joke: that female nudity is a trump card, more important to men than the lives and personalities of women themselves.
Here is the joke: that without female nudity, the show wouldn’t be worth watching for either of them, because ultimately, all its other positive attributes are secondary to, suborned by, the overwhelming prerogative of the male gaze.
If you’re still looking for a Halloween costume, this comic based on a Metafilter comment might give you a wonderful idea.
The deadline for submitting stories about the skills you’ve learned in fandom for the Organization for Transformative Works’ legal team has been extended to October 30th. These stories can be anonymous.
Lady Gaga is making a Christmas special with the Muppets, or, the Muppets are making a Christmas special with Lady Gaga. Either way, I’m excited!
If you’ve been enjoying the delightful and diverse historical lunacy that is Sleepy Hollow, you might be interested in reading the original short story. Tor.com has it for your perusal.
Speaking of Sleepy Hollow, Buzzfeed recently interviewed the cast and creators. My favorite quote, about Sleepy Hollow’s diversity:
It was not a conscious effort, but it was a conscious effort to have a diverse cast just to represent our world. I don’t think it’s realistic for the whole cast to be white. I also think when you are developing a show and casting it mostly Caucasian and you get down to the bad guy and the network is like, “You have to have some diversity,” then all of the sudden…that’s why the person of color is always killed. And because we have so much diversity in our cast and we’ve had the freedom to cast our villains and victims however we want, so we can kill as many white people as we want.
Praise the comedy goddesses! Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will be hosting the Golden Globes in 2014 and 2015.
Donald Glover shared a few handwritten notes about his decision to leave Community on Instagram this past week. It’s really poignant, personal, and inspiring:
I wanted to make something that said no matter how bad you fuck up, or mistakes you’ve made during the year, your life, your eternity. You’re always allowed to be better. You’re always allowed to grow up. If you want.
Star Trek might be coming back to television. It will be, undoubtedly, set in the Star Trek reboot universe, to my eternal ennui, but it might pave the way to return Star Trek to its roots eventually.
The BBC miniseries adaptation of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell has progressed to the casting stages! I am mildly more interested in Rebecca Pahle’s fancasting of Tilda Swinton as the Man with the Thistle-Down Hair, however, because that is screamingly perfect.
Here’s the trailer for Amma Asante’s Belle, based on the life of Dido Elizabeth Belle, a late 18th century biracial heiress. It looks awesome.
Kaleidoscope is a YA urban fantasy anthology highlighting diverse teen protagonists. The project is looking for funding, so feel free to throw a few dollars at them!
Amal El-Mohtar at Tor.com compares the Legend of Korra episode “The Sting” to the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode “The Ember Island Players.” Her analysis is thoughtful and brilliant, especially in regards as to what’s been done with Bolin’s character.
So many blooper reels are usually a crew of lads ladding around, so it’s nice to see ladies goofing off. So I love the blooper reel from The Heat, especially when Melissa McCarthy asks Sandra Bullock if she wants her Oscar present as she stuffs a peanut up her nose for the next take.
This year marks seventy-five years of Superman! Here’s an animated short about the history of Big Blue. It ignores The Adventures of Lois and Clark (HOW DARE YOU) and Superman Returns (understandable) and does end by reminding everybody that Superman’s new costume is kind of awful, but it is a lot of fun. Here’s a list of all the references made.
The A. V. Club’s 100 Episodes feature examines Homestar Runner’s impact on web television. “Hi, I’m Strong Bad, and I’m from 2002. Ask your parents.” (Oh, the nostalgia of it all! I still sing the Teen Girl Squad theme song to myself sometimes.)
Liz Bourke rips into Sarah Silverwood’s Nowhere Chronicles, a YA trilogy where women barely exist, racial minorities are killed off horribly, and physical disability is linked to abusing magic. “Prejudice can be loud or obvious, and it can be quiet, unmarked, part of the sea in which we swim,” she states. It’s the latter that’s always hardest to eradicate.
We’ve established that I am only 75% excited for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. However, in its favor, Desolation of Smaug will boast three new original female characters—the well-known Tauriel and Bard’s two daughters, Sigrid and Tilda. (I assume Tilda is named after Tilda Swinton.) I can’t imagine they’ll have a huge presence, but the fact that they’re named indicates that they’ll have lines. Given how much time I spend thinking about Arwen and Aragorn’s kids (I have concluded that the eldest daughter is named Gilraen), this is a welcome development.
We are one step closer to an Agent Peggy Carter show. The alarm has already been pounded on this news item, but I press it again anyway.
There’s going to be an Extended Edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which, naturally, I will be forced to purchase, per Ringer law. However, details on what scenes it includes have surfaced, and it does include the first meeting of child!Bilbo and Gandalf, a scene that also features Bilbo’s mom, Belladonna Took. The more Tookishness, the better, I say!
At New York Comic Con, Marvel happily answered questions about diversity in their comics and films at a panel, even possibly teasing that Black Widow runs away with Captain America 2 or that it might set up a standalone film for her. Meanwhile, DC, at the panel directly after that, tried to gaslight a fan about her concerns over them, you know, mistreating its female characters, queer characters, disabled characters, and characters of color, and then only gave away prizes to people who asked “proper” questions, like “How do I break into comics?” and “How does this character breathe in this helmet?” DC, you do realize Marvel is your direct competition, right? And (in the comics, at least) it treats its female, transgendered, queer, and minority characters a lot better than you do. We are not a captive audience; we have a solid alternative right there. That new She-Hulk title is screaming my name at this point.
Speaking of New York Comic Con, Racialicious has a round-up of the “Geeks of Color Assemble!: Minorities in Fandom” panel, featuring N. K. Jemisin and other great voices in fandom. And here’s coverage of The Mary Sue’s panel on diversity and representation.
Pacific Rim 2 isn’t greenlit… but it is being written. Huzzah!
The incredibly reclusive Bill Watterson granted Mental Floss a rare and short interview.
After long last, Glee will end. Soon, we will be free of it.
Update on the Sleepy Hollow/Elementary feud: STILL ADORABLE. I propose a crossover, because I would pay cash money to see Joan Watson react to a demon. (This will never happen, since they’re on different networks, but a shout-out on either show to the other would suffice.)
This is an entire Flickr group devoted to photographing the ruins of a short-lived Virginia Renaissance Faire, which ran for three years in the late nineties. The structures are still standing as nature slowly reclaims them.
Roberto Orci (you might remember him from being awful to Star Trek fans) has reboots of Van Helsing and The Mummy on his plate at the moment, which is making him consider a Universal Monster Mash universe. All I can really say about this is that I’d like to see it done, but there are recent precedents with Monster High (which is my kind of sugar horror) and the inclusion of Dr. Frankenstein in Once Upon a Time. (While they go off-book constantly, anything filmed in what I’m calling the Monster Mash universe is stylized as an old Universal film, which is genius.)
Speaking of Once Upon a Time, a study at UCLA’s preliminary findings show that shows with more diverse casts and production teams have higher ratings. So, where’s my Aladdin and Jasmine, show?
Back up, there’s going to be a movie version of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, as written by Nick Hornby? Huh. One thing I adore about her is her very specific literary voice, and that will be difficult to translate to film. But I haven’t read Wild, so I can’t really say anything.
Neil Gaiman talks about the importance of reading and libraries in this lecture for the Reading Agency in London last Monday:
And while we’re on the subject, I’d like to say a few words about escapism. I hear the term bandied about as if it’s a bad thing. As if “escapist” fiction is a cheap opiate used by the muddled and the foolish and the deluded, and the only fiction that is worthy, for adults or for children, is mimetic fiction, mirroring the worst of the world the reader finds herself in.
If you were trapped in an impossible situation, in an unpleasant place, with people who meant you ill, and someone offered you a temporary escape, why wouldn’t you take it? And escapist fiction is just that: fiction that opens a door, shows the sunlight outside, gives you a place to go where you are in control, are with people you want to be with(and books are real places, make no mistake about that); and more importantly, during your escape, books can also give you knowledge about the world and your predicament, give you weapons, give you armour: real things you can take back into your prison. Skills and knowledge and tools you can use to escape for real.
As JRR Tolkien reminded us, the only people who inveigh against escape are jailers.
As I’ve said, I’m not a poetry person, but e.h.’s “Love Letters from Helen of Troy” is haunting.
Travis Beacham’s pilot for his ancient Egypt drama Hieroglyph has been picked up. I am tentatively excited, as I like Beacham and adore ancient Egypt, but I also know that this show will, most likely, end up being cast with white actors. Here’s hoping it goes smoothly, though!
In Europe, screenings of The Empire Strikes Back were preceded by a short fantasy film, Black Angel. It was never screened in America, but still had an influence on fantasy films of the eighties. Unfortunately, it was thought lost for decades, but it’s recently been rediscovered! It should appear on Netflix come next year.
Added: Roxana by Daniel Defoe (via A Curious Invitation), The Lost Estate by Alain-Fournier (via A Curious Invitation), Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (via A Curious Invitation), The Beatles in 100 Objects by Brian Southall (via shopping), Fearless Defenders: Doom Maidens by Cullen Bunn (via shopping)