This will be a brief preamble, since there’s not much to report on (or wax poetic about) this month. After slaving away over a hot seminar most of May, I sort of unofficially took the first little bit of June off to just dive into some fiction instead of critical reading. The neat thing about doing a creative writing/lit studies postgrad project is that it’s relatively easy to convince yourself that reading fun books is still research; which is a handy thing when you are simultaneously exhausted but also filled with the agonising need to be Productive at all times. It’s also always nice to stumble into a really good book and remember with a flash just how fun reading can be. Expect some reviews over the next few months!
I’ve also been doing a lot of editing, both for uni projects and for web-based ones, so I can confirm there are some exciting new feature articles on their way soon! But for now, let’s focus on the present:
On the blog this month:
Loyalty Among Thieves: Found Family in Princess Principal (in which meaningful, interesting character relationships win out over spy capers every time)
Boy Meets Boy: A Fantasy Novel…? (in which there’s something just a little bit magical about this story of happy gay teens)
Due to popular demand (well, a couple of people expressed interest, which still totally counts) I’ve also added a Book Recs page to the blog, where I’ll compile an ever-growing list of cool and interesting non-fiction I come across in my studies. There is crossover between categories of course, but for now at least they’re divided into Mythology and Foklore, Gender/Queer Studies, and Genre Studies. If any of that sounds neat, roll on over and take a look!
Late to the party I know, but wow! That Lindsay Ellis lady with the video essays is pretty good! I’ve been especially having fun with her deep dive into film theory using the Michael Bay Transformers movies. They’re funny, informative, and it’s always a good time to call these movies out on their nonsense (and, of course, it’s always a good time to look at pop culture through an academic lens instead of setting it aside as “low art”).
In Defense of Escapism — over on Uncanny Magazine, Kelly McCullough asks why “it’s escapism” is such a damning phrase when escapism is so important, especially to marginalised groups.
My Fave is Problematic: Kill La Kill — the question “is this work of fiction Feminist(TM) or not?” is not one with an easy answer, nor is it a particularly useful one when it comes down to it. Rianne Torres digs into exactly this through the lens of the divisive series Kill La Kill.
Lady Bird and the Slice of Life Genre in Film — the slice-of-life genre is a staple of anime (and one of my favourites, when done well) but it’s less common in Hollywood film. Could we consider something like The Florida Project or Lady Bird to be slice-of-life by the same parameters? Mythos gets into it.
In Praise of How the Women of Ocean’s 8 Eat — you may not notice it until you think about it, but there are a strangely strict set of tropes around female characters eating in movies. This article lays them out and talks about some works that subvert them, using the recent Ocean’s 8 as a jumping off point.
Solo: A Shortcoming of Gender and Sexuality — big movie producers are back on their BS announcing that their characters are queer on social media while not representing it in the movie itself. Also designing sexy lady robots for dudes to date.
Queer Young Adult Fiction Grows Beyond the Coming Out Story — a neat summary of how YA has become one of the pioneering mediums not just for LGBTQ+ representation, but for representation that goes beyond the usual tropes and presents stories of all kinds and genres to its readers.
Let Queer Characters Be Happy — exactly what the title suggests, though in this case arguing the case specifically within the medium of video games. This discussion is usually framed around books, movies, and TV series, so it’s cool to see this critical lens being applied to game stories too.
And just for a bit of fun, and in keeping with the genre studies theme, over on YouTube one baffled British man is undergoing a years-long heroic journey through the bootleg-toy-infested fantasy realm of dollar stores and it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen:
Take care, everyone!