Get in the Robot: November ’21 Roundup

Ever notice how November is always flurrying with nominations and announcements and fancy curated lists of “best XYZ of the year”? I respect the efficiency, but you’re not fooling me. 2021 ain’t over yet. There’s one month left in this sucker and I’m going to spend each day of it the best that I can!

That said, my “best XYZ of the year” posts are scheduled for a few weeks away. So look forward to those! In the meantime, enjoy what I, and others, put out into the world this past 30 days:

On the blog

Queer YA Spotlight: Gearbreakers – giant robots, dystopian governments, and girls falling in love.

What Are We Talking About When We Talk About “Good Representation”? – a musing on how “is this good rep?” is not a yes-or-no question, despite online discussions often boiling it down to such.

On AniFem

General Feminist-Friendly Manga Recommendations – a list of series with intersectional feminist adjacent themes for your reading enjoyment. Check out my review of Witch Hat Atelier and the recommendations from the rest of the team!

In the International Journal of Young Adult Literature

Playing with Genre and Queer Narrative in the Novels of Malinda Lo – a new scholarly paper, free to read (woo! Open access!) about the metatextual magic at work in these novels that switch sapphic protagonists into genres usually considered “mainstream” and thus “straight by default”.

Bonus bookchats: I dip my toes into Discworld with (the very good) Monstrous Regiment, munch and crunch through The Heartbreak Bakery (feat. my cat, who decided to sit in the middle of the open book like it was made only as a pillow for him), and get spooked by the Hometown Haunts anthology.

Around the web

Dinotopia was a pivotal childhood favourite of mine and I NEVER KNEW it had a weird but deeply charming adventure game adaptation. Simone shines a spotlight on this forgotten fossil of the FMV era.

What can a deep look at the MCU tell us about how Hollywood tells stories about war (and love, and glory, and destiny) and what does that have to do with the surreal and haunting works of Russian arthouse filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky? There’s a connection here, I promise. Let Ms Fish take you on a scholarly and magical journey.

It is Possible for Eternals to Be Both Diverse and Bad – the latest MCU movie has its most inclusive casting yet, a milestone that makes criticisms of it hard to hear. But what if the film itself isn’t that great? Gita Jackson unpacks how these two facets can and should co-exist, and Disney cannot use diversity as a shield to legitimate critique.

The Importance of Centring Black Fans when Discussing YasukeYasuke is, in theory, a really cool series that does a lot to advance Black representation in anime and brings a lesser-known historical hero to light. Except the show doesn’t do that (at least not as well as it could). Kerine Wint examines its failures to its lead character, and how these were often overlooked by non-Black reviewers.

Will the Perfect Men’s Dress Ever Exist – and Would Men Wear It? – non-female celebrities are increasingly trekking up red carpets in gowns, prompting the question if “dresses for dudes” are coming into fashion. Lydia Edwards (author of the fantastic historical costume guide How to Read a Dress!) explores this, pointing out that our current concept of “masculine” fashion is relatively recent and by no means universal or immovable.

The Uncanny Reality of Virtual Homecomings – how games as a medium let us explore strange places that should be familiar, namely the eerie childhood homes and hometowns featured in titles in Night in the Woods and Gone Home.

#AnitwitKKK: When Trolling is Just White Supremacy in Disguise – Bracy breaks down the backlash against the #Blacktober art challenge and how it’s emblematic of the insidious “just trolling” brand of online racial violence.

Five Sapphic Fantasies That Helped Me Find my Freedom – author Adrienne Tooley expresses what is so wonderful and personally compelling about speculative worlds where wlw can exist freely as the complex heroines of their own epic tales.

Cowboy Bebop – Live Action – did I mention last time that I always enjoy Steve’s reviews? This provides a succinct snapshot of everything that’s a bit off about Netflix’s new spin on the anime classic.

The song stuck in my head this month is Z Berg’s ‘All Out of Tears’, a breakup song with some hypnotic mime action going on in the music vid.

And that’s all for now, folks—see you on the flipside for the final posts of 2021!

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