Tag Archives: corinne duyvis

Make-Up Monday :: the 2018 Oscars and Emerald City Comicon 2018

5 Mar

It was a long-ass weekend and we are only just recovering, honestly. So I’m initiating a new day, Make-Up Monday. That’s for when there are things that would normally go on a different day (Superlative and Sundry Sundays, in this case) but just happened to be written about on Monday because of time and life.

First: the Oscars. We didn’t watch because we honestly didn’t care all that much (and I was reminded of how much I wanted to finally watch Hellboy when I saw Hellboy cosplayers this weekend, which was overall a good choice, I think). But! I am here to give absolute mad props to Jordan Peele for Best Original Screenplay re: Get Out (which deserved a lot more awards than just that, but hey, it’s a step in the right direction and I’m fully prepared to fight the people who complained about it being not an “Oscar movie” [because I bet they didn’t whine about, like, The Dark Knight the same way when they arguably could have]) and Guillermo del Toro for Best Director and Best Picture re: The Shape of Water. Those were two of the best movies of last year and I’m glad that the Academy was willing to recognize them even though neither of them are exactly the usual. That’s different than not being an “Oscar movie” because when people say that, in that certain tone of voice, they mean that it doesn’t meet arbitrary cultural standards of dignity/relevance/high culture/lots of rich white guys everywhere. I just mean that the Academy wouldn’t usually recognize a satirical horror movie about racism or a period drama about a disabled woman who wanted to fuck a fishman.

Anyway.

Second: Emerald City. We did Friday-Saturday-Sunday this year, though not Thursday, and had a relatively easy schedule. Friday (during which we were cosplaying as Matt[ilda] Murdock [myself] and Elektra Natchios [drift partner] since the only way they could be gayer is if they were both actually women and anyway Matt is one of the only white boys we give serious damns about anymore, but we only got a selfie because we forgot to get anyone else to take a picture of us since we were alone most of the day) was largely devoted to walking around, scoping things out (saw lots of lovely art, found myself a Funko Pop of Lafayette from True Blood which is worth bragging about since that series was literally years ago and isn’t made anymore I’m pretty sure), and meeting Billie Piper.

Billie Piper was lovely. As y’all know, I do not Doctor Who. We watched the season with Twelve and Bill because of Bill, as you know, but I’ve never done the rest of it. I know that Billie Piper played Rose, who was a companion to Nine and Ten both; I know that people are bonkers about Rose/Ten; I know that drift partner drastically prefers Nine to Ten as a romantic partner for Rose and as a character (and at this point my only extended exposure to David Tennant is Jessica Jones, so I’m inclined to be wary of Ten as well; David Tennant was also there with a line that was absolutely mad and I’m sure he’s fine but I just couldn’t). Mostly, though, I personally know Billie Piper from Penny Dreadful. I still haven’t been able to bring myself to watch the last episode of that show because I just… can’t, I don’t know. It was a beautiful weird headrush of a program and Billie Piper was one of my favorite parts of it, considering that her plotline, which was in the style of but not directly derived from any one particular known story, was “prostitute dies of consumption or something [I assume consumption because that’s what people die of in the olden days] and is reborn as the Bride of Frankenstein, then meets Dorian Grey and after regaining memory of her time as a prostitute decides to seek vengeance on all of London’s cruel johns, eventually recruiting other London prostitutes to join her in a vengeful and sometimes Sapphic prostitute army” and that is 100% my brand. As a result of this, I made sure to tell Billie Piper (after drift partner discussed her love for Rose and Nine) that I so greatly appreciated the wicked insanity of Penny Dreadful. She seemed to get a kick out of that, largely because I imagine most people had been talking to her about Who throughout the con and it was nice to have a change of pace.

(She also asked the girls in front of us for recommendations for a good curry place nearby, which was insanely charming.)

Here is that selfie of us of Matt[ilda] and Elektra, anyway:

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Saturday was when we did Black Widow [drift partner] and Scarlet Witch [me]. My mom upgraded Scarlet Witch since our sojourn to Rose City last September, and I was thrilled to wear it; it’s surprisingly comfortable, if very very warm, and I like the mood it puts me in. The day was more looking and buying, grabbing a couple of writer signatures (Marguerite Bennett of Bombshells fame, who I was absolutely thrilled to meet because oh my god you guys that is my favorite thing, and Kate Leth of Hellcat fame, who we met last year but I wanted to meet again because she’s awesome), and meeting Sean Maher.

Sean Maher, as you know, is Simon on Firefly, aka one of my always boys, aka one of the only male characters I am hardcore about, aka the namesake of one of my parents’ cats, aka half of one of the only m/f ships I still freak out about, aka a lovely real life example of a happy gay person living a good life. He seemed very tired but we got a nice picture of him wearing a vest signed and told him we adored his character and adored his being a lovely example of gay because we too are in that. He then used the word “family” which was sweet.

Here’s a picture of us as Scarlet Witch and Black Widow, taken by a professional (?) photographer who was nice enough to indulge us:

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Sunday was my mother’s very first day at Emerald City! She wore her excellent Melisandre and I wore the season 7 Daenerys she just finished for me, which is very nice but oh my god the warmest thing I’ve ever worn at a convention; drift partner wore her excellent Jessica-Jones-as-Jewel after some last-minute changes to our cosplay schedule. I decided the theme was then “women who murder rapists,” because Melisandre has certainly done (albeit maybe accidentally) and Dany definitely does and, well, Jess has also done. Yes. Our first goal of the day was seeing Summer Glau, because while we have before my mom has not. We paid to take a selfie with her, and by selfie I mean picture at the table that someone else took because it’s hard to take a selfie with four people in it, and my mom thanked her for giving her an excellent daughter-in-law (after retelling the story of drift partner’s and my meeting). Summer cooed and gave us hugs and said she was glad to be part of the story.

After that we went to go see Corinne Duyvis, who was hanging out signing books in the vendor hall. We had a very nice talk about how On the Edge of Gone had entered my life soon after I realized I was autistic and its protagonist really struck a chord with me accordingly; drift partner has known longer about autism but she agreed with the overall sentiment. Then we talked about her glasses (which were purple and pink, which matched how she currently had her hair dyed). She was very lovely and I was thrilled to get to meet her because, well, I really had never thought I’d get to because genre YA authors aren’t the people you think about as likely to come to a convention. And after that was a lot of walking around, art-perusing, and my mom and I getting our photos taken by people.

Here’s our “selfie” with Summer:

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Overall, good weekend very exhausting.

–your fangirl heroine.

sleep20of20the20drunk-dead

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Things in Print Thursday :: monthly big queer book review [Otherbound]

27 Jul

Jumping right into July’s big queer book since June’s entries were posted so late.

Otherbound is the first novel by Corinne Duyvis, author of my much-loved On the Edge of Gone. Corinne Duyvis is queer and autistic and runs Disability in Kidlit online, and as I knew from the other novel there is a significant commitment to diversity! I wasn’t sure how that was going to pan out in Otherbound because it’s largely in a fantasy setting (where diversity is always… interesting) but never fear, there’s plenty to be found.

There are two protagonists to this story, whose points of view alternate: Nolan, a Mexican-American teenage boy in present-day Arizona (his father and sister also study Nahuatl, a native Aztec language), and Amara, a teenage servant girl in the fantasy-world Dunelands. Nolan has the ability to slip into Amara’s world and consciousness, which everyone around him perceives as epileptic seizures, and he also uses a prosthetic after losing part of one of his legs in a “seizure”-related accident; Amara is a healing servant, which means that her magical ability to heal is exploited to aid the princess she serves (who suffers from a curse that makes her essentially able to be killed by the slightest injury, which is of itself a chronic problem), and like all servants in her world her tongue was cut because they’re not permitted to speak, which means she communicates in sign language. Additionally, the princess, Cilla, is explicitly characterized as being not a white person (the terms used are all fantastical because of the world, but she’d be played – hopefully – by a dark-skinned black girl in a screen adaptation) and a large number of the other characters are as well. So, A+ right out of the gate.

And much like the story deals with physical diversity without fussing (Nolan’s disabilities are prominent, but because they affect his life and his family, and Amara is consciously aware that she signs instead of speaking, but the only one to characterize them as DIsabled People is a villain) it also deals with the b-word. Bisexuality! I don’t actually remember if it says the word in the text of the novel but it did win an award for bisexual rep and that’s on the back cover, so there’s no denying it. Amara is attracted to both male and female characters, and though there is some contention given the individual characters, there’s none regarding her orientation; there are also no explicit love triangles, which is a relief.

The actual story is compelling; the Dunelands are, as could be expected, fraught with peril, and both Amara and Nolan-in-Amara have to navigate all manner of surprises. The few big plot reveals can’t be spoiled without, well, spoiling things entirely; what can be said is that the action is heavily focused on the second half of the story. In order to familiarize the reader with these parallel worlds, the first few chapters are very slice-of-life, which isn’t bad but bears mention. The magic is specific but not so complicated one can’t wrap one’s head around it, and the parameters of the universe are understandable once explained.

I will also say, though – I kept sort of expecting something gross to come of a teenage boy being sometimes in a teenage girl’s body. It didn’t, really. There’s mention of some voyeurism, which once she realizes Amara is understandably upset about, but the narrative is refreshingly respectful. (I’m sure this is because the author isn’t male; I’m not saying it’s impossible for men to write female protagonists but it is much more likely to get sketchy fast.)

Overall, a good go! I like Duyvis’ other work better, probably because I relate to it more closely, but this was very entertaining and in parts compelling enough that I abandoned my daily page limit to find out what happened next.

–your fangirl heroine.

one20more20time

Things in Print Thursday :: monthly book review [On the Edge of Gone]

12 May

So okay. I am significantly late posting my April book review, because I was significantly late finishing my April book, because I didn’t get it recc’d until late in the month, then finding it, then I was finishing my final projects for school. But here goes.

I really, really liked this book. It was exactly what I was looking for in a book with an autistic protagonist: one, about a girl, because I’m a literary misandrist and have a much easier time reading about girls, two, not grimdark, three, not only about the character’s autism and how it makes them Different.  Because here’s the thing.  That’s true, autistic and allistic people are different in some pretty fundamental ways, but when the narrative is centered around that difference and nothing else, an us vs. them mentality is created, and that’s ultimately damaging and incorrect.

I’ve been reading about autism in the last couple of years, just information-wise.  A lot of this is to do with my drift partner, but a lot of it eventually also had to do with a sense of oh that all makes sense to me now about myself.  The most official thing I’ve had said is I have “autism-flavored OCD” but whatever, there are days when that flavor feels really pervasive.  Isn’t that the silliest way of putting it?  Basically, I’m too adaptable and good at pretending things for a DSM-V diagnosis, and yeah, that makes sense, in part because the DSM-V is imperfect, but there’s something there, somewhere.

Anyway.  That was personal and confessional and I debated not including it at all, but also it’s important to explaining why I loved this book so absolutely much.  For starters, this book wins the diversity lottery.  I won’t list off every single instance, but Denise, the autistic teenage protagonist, is half-Surinamese, half-Dutch.  This book is set in Amsterdam, which makes it in my opinion more interesting than the 20,000th apocalypse setting in New York or something.  Nothing against New York, but.

Yeah.  This is an apocalypse book.  Denise and her mom have to find shelter before a comet hits the Earth and after that find her sister before the shelter, a ship, goes into space.  There’s destruction and injury and death.  There’s unpleasant imagery that could be triggering.  But, as I said above, this book is not grimdark!

Here’s another cool thing: the a-word isn’t even used until something like 40 pages in.  It’s on the book jacket, but still.  The reader has a chance to get to know Denise, her preferences and habits and interests, without the label being constantly thrown around.  Aspects of her autism are discussed: her special interest (cats), her history of behavior problems and problematic stims, how difficult it was to get her diagnosed because girls aren’t as easily diagnosed (true), how difficult it is to cope with things like interacting with others sometimes.  She gets a job on board the ship helping relay information to everyone’s tabs (which seem to be like touchscreen projection watches) and revels in organizing and reorganizing it, proofing it and editing it and making it right, and I wanted to shriek with joy because I feel the same way about information that’s why I’m being a librarian.

She gets upset about keeping relationships (her mother and sister) and making them too (her mentor, her eventual friends on board – one of whom she finds cute, but doesn’t ultimately romance with) and about the overwhelming nature and facts of the apocalypse, but she continually proves how valuable she is on the usefulness-based ship (at one point so much so that someone suggests she isn’t even autistic because autistic people can’t do that, which made me go hmmm) and what’s more, she makes people think about things they might not because she sees things the way others might not.  And she’s likable!  She’s easy to understand and I think even an allistic person would be able to relate to her at least some of the time.

Also, Corinne Duyvis, the author, is autistic herself.  So that’s helpful.  It’s not stilted or pandering and that’s what I was afraid of.  Over-researched, un-genuine storytelling.  I don’t know, I guess what I’m getting at is this was just a very successful read for me.

–your fangirl heroine.

ohisee