I have gotten into the habit of live tweeting books when I’m reading them and expecting to comment on them about representation. It helps me work out my feelings as I read the book, and since it sometimes takes me ages to get around to a proper review (I should really work on this) it at least gives me something to point to when the book comes up in conversation.
However, I don’t think I can do this well when I know the author follows me. I think I will feel constrained about talking about the book as freely as I usually do, and it means that the author has to choose between muting/unfollowing me or having my thread keep showing up in their feed.
To handle this problem I have decided that for books in this situation I will do a live tweet, but entirely here. I will update the post as I go, adding onto the end like it is a twitter thread. It gives the author the choice if they wish to read my thoughts, and knowing it isn’t being shoved in their face should allow me to feel like I can write more freely.
When I was invited to participate in the Young People Read Old SFF project, I jumped at the chance. The premise of the project is to test if old science fiction stories could be a good introduction for young people (in this case 20-somethings) to get into reading speculative fiction.
For me, I’ve been reading science fiction and fantasy for as long as I can remember, and I was already participating (although mostly lurking) in SFF fandom. Despite this, I haven’t read much of the so-called classics, and was willing to give them a try. I’ve also been reviewing old Doctor Who episodes on The Web of Queer for a couple years now, so I thought it would be interesting to do a similar project in a different format.
I’ve approached the reviews the same way I do Classic Doctor Who. I hold them to the same standards that I do modern stories. Especially because of the point of YPROSFF, I feel that I should be responding them to them as a modern reader. Unfortunately, the reaction I have received from SFF fandom has been drastically different from Doctor Who fandom.
I have been reading the comments (I know, I know) on James’s LiveJournal and on Facebook and I have found them extremely frustrating. The overwhelming response has been that I am a grouch and hate everything, and that I’m reacting to the stories “wrong.”
I’m starting to get the message. SFF fandom, or at least the part of it that’s reading and commenting on these reviews, doesn’t want my voice. They say they want to see how younger readers react to these reviews, but in reality they want to be able to tell me that I’m just wrong and irrationally hate things because I expect these stories to be better than they are. I get it, I’m a spoiled millennial who expects female characters to actually be people, and perhaps for the occasional queer character to appear on the page.
I entered SF fandom with Wheel of Time being nominated for a Hugo, and read through thinkpieces about how the Wheel of Time was bad and wrong and so were all the people who were voting for it. My experience with SF fandom has been the people who are supposedly the progressives telling me to shut up and go away.
I wonder why I bother trying to stay. At least Doctor Who fandom likes me.
Picking up this time partway through Chapter 13. Time for lots of information about the Chamber of Secrets’ history, not all of it true; some spiders; and Lockhart is terrible. Continue reading
This section only includes part of chapter 13, because Ron’s joke about Myrtle hit me harder than I expected, and I stopped.
Content warning for discussion of bullying and death. Continue reading
Harry to be in the wrong place at the wrong time; Harry, Ron, and Hermione to break a whole bunch of school rules; and the infiltration of the Slytherin common room. Sadly, nobody has murdered Lockhart yet.
Asexuality comes up frequently in Doctor Who fandom, usually in the context of describing the Doctor. Unfortunately, the way it is used is often divorced from the actual definition of asexuality and as a result inadvertently dehumanizes asexual and aromantic people. This can make existing as an aromantic asexual Doctor Who fan a difficult experience. Continue reading
I livetweeted this chapter ages ago, but haven’t been able to get back to this project for a while due to real-life things.
This chapter continues with my usual worries about teaching standards at Hogwarts and wishes for the book to get rid of Lockhart. Continue reading
Of all the things I thought I’d be doing today, writing a post about my feelings on Mr. Clean was not one of them. However, since the “Mr. Clean is asexual because he’s just so clean!” thing floating around Twitter won’t go away, here we go.
If you Google “Is Mr. Clean gay” Google helpfully tells you that “Mr. Clean is neither gay, straight nor bi, he is asexual because sex of any kind is just too dirty for him. His first love has always been cleaning. He can’t even bear to be seen in anything but clean, perfectly white clothes. So it has been his whole life.” Things have gotten silly enough that it is now taking this text (at least for me) from a Gizmodo article talking about that being the text that Google pulls up when you search for this. Continue reading
Two more chapters and I am now just a few pages short of halfway done this book. The plot finally makes an appearance, and allows me to be momentarily distracted from hating Lockhart. Continue reading
In this chapter we get a look at multiple kinds of privilege, further examples of Hogwarts questionable detention decisions, and there’s more Lockhart. Continue reading