Things You Should be Reading and Watching

I’m too tired to be coherent right now, but that’s okay: other people are managing it ably. So, today, tonight, whatever is going to be a short link roundup (because people I think well of and respect are saying terribly intelligent things and that is awesome) followed by a somewhat longish rant about something arguably far less important, but excellent nonetheless.

So, without further ado (well, some unrelated ado afterward):

Genevieve Valentine talks about the ongoing fallout of her (right, oh-dear-god-so-very-right) decision to come forward, report, and go public about her harassment at Readercon.

Nora Jemisin talks elegantly and insightfully (as always) about a number of things including the (intriguing and unfortunately not at all accurate) way sff fandom sees itself, racism, sexism, and what a progressive approach to inclusion would actually mean.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia, who is running an IndieGoGo campaign to help Innsmouth Free Press afford to pay pro rates for their upcoming Swords and Mythos anthology (totally worth supporting – I already have, you should too), has been blogging about topics relating to Swords and Sorcery and the genre’s intersection with the Mythos, and topics related to both in general. Though all the articles are worth reading (When is Silvia’s work not worth reading?) two especially are worth looking at: “Welcome to Exotica or OMG I See Brown People” and “Double Trouble: Two Racists for the Price of One“.

There are many other things on these subjects I should probably point you to, but, again, tired …

So, on a completely unrelated note (with some bonus rambling, because: why not?):

There is a rather excellent modern-era update of Pride and Prejudice being perpetrated in the form of something called The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, which is being performed as a vlog series whose episodes are being posted to YouTube. It is most satisfying in its manner of updating the material and finding ways to fit a decidedly period novel into modern trappings, and it is an update that reflects a more multicultural present, which is wonderful. There are also some deliciously sly asides, nods, and knowing witticisms throughout. But primarily my admiration for this series comes from the way it manages to capture the feeling of Pride and Prejudice without being slavishly bound to the source material, or seeking to reproduce it as pastiche.

You see, one of the principal reasons that I so disliked Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is because though that novel retained an inordinate amount of Austen’s actual text, going so far as to rewrite half-lines and maintain much of the actual plot of the original, it could not capture what was essentially Austen about the work (which, admittedly, involves both good and bad – Austen’s work is, because of the period of its production, arguably flawed, but I still find Pride and Prejudice delightful in spite of being aware of its pitfalls). This is largely the same reason I have not seen anything more than the trailer of the fairly recent film adaptation (the one with Keira Nightley) of the novel. It looks like it’s supposed to be Austen, but there’s something missing, and I can’t put my finger on it (though I suspect it’s a faulty attempt at re-envisioning the central characters from what I’ve seen of the trailer). Also, the A&E [Edit: the series was BBC produced, A&E distributed it in North America] adaptation with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth (among so many talented others) was stupefyingly excellent, and I suspect that that is about as close to actually reproducing the novel in visual media as we’re going to get.

In any case, if you have not yet watched The Lizzie Bennet Diaries you should give them a try. I cannot say that everyone will love them; there are purists who are probably horrified at the prospect of modernizing the text, but I am not among them. Austen’s work invites interpretation, and occasionally someone taking her up on that invitation will hit one out of the park, as it were (Emma Thompson’s adaptation of Sense and Sensibility comes to mind).

You can start with this episode [Edit: posted link to wrong episode, this one should work]:

And now I am done, for I must go sleep.

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