If this is the December roundup, I guess it must be the roundup of 2018 as well–a year that simultaneously felt like it lasted 1,000 years and felt like it lasted six minutes.
It’s been a big year for writing, once again. As of now I’m officially one year into a PhD (!), which, if all goes according to plan, is one third of the way through. I have been told that my first year went pretty well, and bewildered as I am I’ll have to trust my supervisors on that. It feels like I’ve learnt so much, yet at the same time I feel like I’m treading water in a sea of things I still need to know and understand. But that’s probably pretty normal–I don’t have to be an Expert in anything just yet, and I’m having a good time finding my feet and my groove.
I have a journal paper currently in the peer review process, hopefully for publication in the middle of next year–in the meantime, though, if you want to peek at what I’m studying, you can take a gander at this conference presentation I gave (my second ever!) on playing with tropes!
Somehow, I managed to sneak in some feature writing this year too: the AniFem team continues to be a delight to work with, and I’m proud of the work they’ve helped me craft and put out this year. I like all three of the pieces I got published (and the next one in the pipeline, too, but that’s a behind-the-scenes secret) but am particularly fond of this one comparing the relationships in The Camping Anime versus The Ramen Anime. I also wrote a couple of pieces for The Asexual, both published in their journal and for their general website. It feels a little spooky writing so openly about my own experiences with my sexuality (especially that first one), but I’m getting the hang of it with the frame of fiction to guide me. Lady Geek Girl and Friends unfortunately closed its doors early this year, but I had a whale of a time writing for them while it lasted, too.
On the blog this month:
The Paladin Caper: The Gang Saves The World – Rogues of the Republic comes to an end, with a fizzle rather than a bang, and I question whether a big epic plot is really more important than character development.
The Trickster Archetype in Pop Culture, Part One: Down with the System! – the Trickster is a very versatile archetype, which is how I’m able to talk about Marvel’s Deadpool and Roald Dahl’s Matilda in the same post. The first of a series!
A Big Ol’ Pile of Anime Recommendations (2018) – my favourite new series I watched this year, all collected in one place!
Cool web content:
Cursed with Insecurity: Howl’s Moving Castle in Print and Film – a look at the different approaches to Sophie and Howl (and their relationship) in Diana Wynne Jones’ novel versus the Ghibli adaptation, and what kind of message each version sends
Defining and Redefining Popular Genres: The Evolution of ‘New Adult’ Fiction – a journal article about how genre is fake (my mantra for the year), or, at least, how genre should be considered an ever-evolving and organic thing rather than something static and decided by a set group of people. And what the hell is a ‘new adult’ book anyway?
Bloom Into You, Touko Nanami, and the Terror of Social Performance – a character study of Touko and her deep-seated self-doubt, and how her struggles and flaws are relatable.
Double Decker‘s Treatment of Trans Characters Leaves a Lot to be Desired – a breakdown of how exactly the Tiger and Bunny spinoff dropped the ball when it introduced trans characters to its cast, disappointing many viewers (myself included) who were initially excited for the show.
“We Must Be Strong, and We Must Be Brave”: Power and Women in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power – how the delightful reboot places emphasis on different kinds of strength, not just those that come from magical swords.
The Invention of the Passive Fairy Tale Heroine – tracking the shift in fairy tale tropes over time and how they reflected cultural shifts taking place.
On Laid-Back Camp and Nature as Society’s Companion Rather Than Society’s Foe – how my new favourite slice-of-life show upturns the common “hur dur technology bad, get away from it all and experience the wilderness” narrative by portraying tech instead as something that enhances the characters’ experience of nature and brings them closer to each other.
Different Interpretations as Solidarity, Not Opposition – there’s been a lot of talk about how Yuu of Bloom Into You can be read as either an aromantic asexual or a lesbian, and this article takes the “why not both?” approach, in terms of both how sexuality is a spectrum and how different viewer’s interpretations can be valuable to the overall conversation around such things in media.
My gosh, and I think that wraps us up for 2018. As always, thank you for reading, and take care out there in the wide world!