Weird Autumn: September ’20 Roundup

It’s been another busy month, ensconced in grading, teaching, and wading through research! I had to take two days off to sleep the other week, but apart from that I’m holding it together and powering along!

In other good news, my brain is processing image-heavy media like comics again, so I’ve been consuming a lot of good good gay graphic novels.

On the blog:

The Ship of Theseus, Questions of Identity, and Phos – a philosophical rumination on the weirdness of changing identity and personal growth, with some help from Land of the Lustrous and a borrowed metaphor about deep-fried pineapple.

Queer YA Spotlight: Spellhacker – a celebration of the fun sci-fi-fantasy genre blend that’s all about sticking it to the man and saving the world.

On The Conversation:

Night in the Woods: the video game that captures bittersweet millennial life under COVID-19 – I’m back on The Convo, this time contributing to their Art for Trying Times series by sharing my feels about Night in the Woods and its depiction of millennial ennui.

In Writing From Below

Queer Allegory and Queer Actuality in Every Heart a Doorway – my paper on queer portal fantasy is live and free to read! It’s the longer, written-down version of this presentation from last year.

Other fun links:

Well, the live-action Mulan looks abysmal. But why? Let’s break that down with the help of author and Chinese meme historian Xiran Jay Zhao.

Dom is reading the Twilight books for the first time in the year of our lord 2020, with an open heart and open mind. So… are they as bad as they were said to be, back when hating Twilight was as much of a social movement as liking Twilight?

(Yeah. They’re not great)

“Costume blogger shreds movies for their inaccuracy” is a genre unto its own (and that’s fine) but it’s also cool to hear about what films got right about their historical set dressing and costumery. Hooray for Gentleman Jack!

Genderqueerness Beyond Representation in Land of the Lustrous – Matt delves into the trans themes (resonance, you could say) running through the entirety of Lustrous‘ worldbuilding, story, and characters, making it a very queer show in ways that go beyond the characters who might count as non-binary representation.

Reading Romance While Demisexual – how fictional love stories can be alienating and resonant to demi readers in equal measures, and how friends-to-lovers slow-burn is the pinnacle of romance (a sentiment I can agree with).

How Bloom Into You Defies and Reinforces Yuri Tropes – the tangled love story of Yuu and Touko is groundbreaking in some ways, but also extremely tropey in others, and the exciting mix of these conventions is often overlooked in discussion of the series (I’m cited in this! Absolutely wild!)

Among Us Is Not Just the Game of 2020, It’s 2020: The Game – how the multiplayer hidden role game (unintentionally, but perfectly) reflects the emotional state of the year we’re having, but with the added catharsis of knowing the game will end and knowing that there is a chance to defeat the guy trying to sabotage your home.

WIP: Felix Ever AfterFelix is being adapted into a TV show! Author Kacen Callender muses on the journey to this point, and the pragmatic decisions The Biz needs to make when choosing which titles to adapt.

Horns, Scales, and Feathers: Reclaiming Genderqueer Monstrousness – author Tessa Gratton explores her childhood of identifying with monsters and villains, and how this led her down a rocky road to her own gender identity.

The Futura is Now: Why YA Cover Design Looks the Way It Does – an intriguing breakdown of trends in book cover design across the past fifteen years, from stark stock images to unique illustrations, from fancy serif fonts to cleaner, bolder text that will be easy to spot in online stores.

Next month it’s premiere review season again, so I’m going to put my blogging energy into AniFem rather than making longform posts for here. Those will return in November. Stay tuned for some hot fresh opinions and some exciting stories!

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