Did you miss me last Friday, friends? Because I sure did miss you. But, honestly, it's been a really rough couple of weeks, spoon-management wise, and the passing of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain wasn't helping anyone in my immediate social circle.
But, the show must go on, and I'm incredibly lucky to have wonderful people in my life, supporting me in all sorts of wonderful ways. Including, apparently, sending me links they think I'll love enough to maybe include here! Because I was gone last week, I've managed to amass quite the little collection of things I enjoyed (or was alerted to) on the internet in the last two weeks. So this week's Friday Five is going to be a DOUBLE PACKED Friday Ten!
One of the surprise-amazing things (to me, I'm sure they are not a surprise to a great many other people!) coming out of the most recent WisCon is the write-ups and analyses of different panels that happened over the course of the conference. For those like myself, who were unable to get to WisCon for a number of different reasons, they are truly amazing resources!
When I saw the title of the panel KJ reviewed, I had to scoop my jaw up off the floor. Rarely has a panel so deeply spoke to a moment I was going through in my own life so clearly. KJ does an amazing job summarizing and synthesizing the information the panel covered, and if you're anything like me, the line "we're all striving to be Olympic level fans when we could be playing at the intramural level and still enjoying ourselves perfectly well" will hit incredibly close to home!
When Ira mentioned that they were going to maybe be doing panel write-ups of WisCon, I was delighted. When it turns out that they have plans to write-up all the panels they went to at WisCon, as well as they ones they were on, I almost DIED. I am always so fascinated to read anything Ira writes, especially with an analysis bent, because the way they write about their thought process, especially at something as chaotic as a convention panel, is something I deeply admire. Which is why you'll find two of their write ups in my link round-up this week!
This absolutely amazing piece about disability, burlesque, and SFF's power to expand it's representative imaginative capacity sent chills through me. Elsa is a deafblind author who writes with fire about the way burlesque helped to expand her ability to reclaim and reimagine the disable characters she was seeing in fiction - and the lessons the speculate fiction community at large could learn from that.
When women have been shamed by trolls for simply being women, when disabled women are shamed for having bodies like mine, it can be terrifying to share what I have done with mine. But I’m shedding my shame, because shame is worthless. Shame is dangerous, shame strips us of our power, and striptease gave me the power to retell stories.
Charles is the kind of reviewer I look at and just kind of mutter '...damn' quietly under my breath. He manages to review SO MUCH short fiction, with such clarity and insight, that I am truly left reeling. This particular list is one of a monthly feature he does on his Patreon, that is available for free. Y'all know how crazy I am for queer media, and having a lot of short queer content coalesces into one place is amazing.
And while this and many other posts are free, if you have a few dollars that you could toss to Charles, I highly recommend doing so!
This is the exact kind of fandom-related discourse I am here for, to be completely honest. After Star Wars Fan BoysTM got all up in their horrendous glee at chasing Kelly Marie Tran off Twitter, a great number of people took to lamenting on Twitter.
Denise replied in amazing fashion, laying out the difference between curation and transformation in fandom, and how the former can lead to gatekeeping, toxicity, and the kind of behavior we've seen over and over again from some of the most toxic corners of the major fandoms.
Skin Matters by Troy L. Wiggins at Expanded Horizons
We're a little light on individual fiction in this round-up, which is less about the fiction and more about the amount of bonkers-good nonfiction I've run across recently. However, I read this short story a few minutes after posting the last Friday Five, which means that it's stuck with me in the last few weeks - no easy feat for a piece of short fiction!
The story of a mother and her android son, the story looks at motherhood, choice, the nature of having a heart, and what we face when society forces us to choose - and may not like the outcome of our choice. It's not a long story, but God damn it is an amazing one!
As a person who (very fortunately) gets access to a number of ARC copies of various things, I do my best to make sure I'm reading things approximately close to when it comes out.
That didn't happen with Kekla Magoon's new book, The Season of Styx Malone. It's not out until October, but I devoured it. When this piece by Kekla floated across my Twitter, I dropped what I was doing and read it immediately - with no regrets! The piece looks at heroism, narrative, and the messages we give kids about being the heroes of their lives (especially in a world where very few people may ever do A Big Thing, but that doesn't erase the validity of small heroism). It gave me a lot of feelings, and I think it'll probably do the same to you!
Bree is one of my Twitter idols, and I don't say that flippantly or hyperbolically. An openly bisexual woman in a relationship with a man, there are a number of times weekly that Bree's feed brings me close to tears with love, validation, and the knowledge that my community is being seen.
This thread, on separating the way we present our gender from the physical tasks we're capable of (in this case, butch presentation paired with a physical inability to do a number of 'butch' tasks) was not only fascinating, but illuminating of yet another aspect of this messy, wiggly thing we call gender.
Following in the vein of The Ripped Bodice's Diversity in Romance report, Jen has taken on a truly amazing project to look at the romance books being reviewed in eight major outlets, and how many of those titles reviewed are diverse.
Not surprisingly, the numbers are Not Good. Jen outlines her methodology, as well as providing an entire second report about the role and importance of romance reviewers as gatekeepers, and the importance of her work shouldn't be ignored. There is a diversity problem along every rung of the publishing ladder, and making sure I'm doing what I can from my rung is the most important immediate task. Jen's numbers make that job easier.
I hope that's enough for y'all, friends! Because that's all I've got for this week. I'll be back next week with another Friday Five, my first *actual* book review, and - if I can manage to get my thoughts corralled into a line, maybe even an essay on just how much I still hate Izzie Stevens after all these years.