Technical Update

I had intended to post this yesterday, but then my home was out of power for the entire day due to a fault on the line. So there were technical difficulties in posting this message about technical difficulties.

If you tried to log on to my site this time last week, you might have noticed a slight problem with it. And by “slight problem” I mean that the entire website had disappeared.

Thankfully, I managed to get everything back and I didn’t lose any data. All my old posts are safe and sound.

This shouldn’t happen again any time in the near future, so you can relax and enjoy the reviews, recommendations, and writing talk, and I can stop fretting about whether or not Skynet is trying to eat my blog.

The good thing is that the data for the queer reading list is stored elsewhere, so even if I had lost the site, it would have been possible to resurrect the reading list, this just meant that the page was down for a bit. This technical… hiccup… did mean that I didn’t do the queer reading list update last weekend. That wasn’t actually an issue because there have been no suggestions for new books over the past couple of weeks. Don’t forget that I’m doing a giveaway all through 2018 and you can win a free book by recommending new books to go on the reading list.

Despite there being no books to add, the reading list is still getting an update this week. I’ve made a number of changes to the layout and interface. Most of these changes are specifically in two areas: navigation buttons and filters.

Reading List Navigation Buttons

You can still navigate the list by clicking on the arrow buttons to move between pages, but I’ve also added some flag buttons that will let you navigate directly to the area you’re interested in. So if you’re interested in reading books with asexual, demi-sexual, or aromantic representation, you can still click on the navigation arrows until you reach page 6, or you can click on the ace pride flag button and skip straight there. I’ve put these navigation buttons on each page so you can jump around between pages as you wish.

I’ve changed a few things about the filters on each page, with the most Reading list filter buttons imageobvious being that I’ve changed them to buttons rather than a list with tick boxes. This should make it easier to apply filters. I’ve done some resizing and moving around of these buttons on most of the pages to try and make the filters a little less cramped. They’re still crammed in together on the Agender, Genderqueer, Intersex, and Non-Binary page, but there should be less overlap between filter boxes which again should make it easier to select the filters that you’re interested in. One minor change around these is that I’ve switched the order of the filter buttons for each category so that True now comes before False on all of these buttons.

Reading list alt text screenshotHopefully this will improve the usability of the list. To further assist with this, I have added alt text descriptions to elements on the views to try and improve this list from an accessibility point of view but unfortunately there were some changes I wasn’t able to do. I was asked about making the scrolling bar wider but unfortunately this isn’t a setting I’m able to control. I have suggested it to the company whose software I’m using to make the list that they might want to make this an adjustable settings, especially for accessibility reasons, but I can’t do much about it unless they decide to listen to that feedback. If you are struggling to use the list for accessibility reasons, let me know and I might be able to give you access to the back end data behind the list. That wouldn’t give you the same ability to filter all the settings, but if there’s a particular sort of representation you’re interested in (e.g. lesbian representation) I could create a pre-filtered view on the back end data and that might be easier to consume if you use a screenreader. If there are other aspects to the list causing accessibility issues, let me know and I’ll see what I can do.

Queer Reading List Giveaway

In 2017, I launched my queer reading list. This is a list of sci-fi and fantasy book recommendations with strong LGBTQ+ representation. You can filter by different representation types to find books that feature characters with specific identities or sexualities.

Each month in 2018, I will be giving away a book of the winner’s choice from the reading list. You can enter the giveaway through the year and at the end of each month, a winner will be chosen at random from that month’s entries and that person will get to choose a book from the list as their prize.

There are two ways to enter this giveway.

  1. Reblog the Tumblr post.
  2. Suggest a new book for the reading list. You can fill out this form to make a recommendation (or this form if you’re an author and want to recommend your own books). The only criteria are that the book is sci-fi or fantasy, there is strong queer representation (i.e. not just a token character in the background), and that you enjoyed reading it.

Each new book recommended counts as a separate entry to the giveaway and you can recommend as many books as you like.

Please check before making a recommendation that the book isn’t already on the list, and please include as much detail as you can about the representation within the book (this makes it easier to correctly categorise them for the filters).

Please also make sure you include a way for me to contact you in the suggestion form – email address or Tumblr username. This contact information will only be used to inform the winner that they’ve won and communicate about their prize.

Queer Reading List Search

I am in the process of updating my queer reading list. The old list is just that – a list. I list science fiction and fantasy books that contain significant queer representation and which I have enjoyed reading.

The new version, I’m hoping will be more useful for people looking for SF&F books that contain queer representation. It’s a bit more visual, with a list of books and their cover images on the left.

Reading list screenshot

Through the use of filters, people can search the list for specific types of representation – e.g. a book with an intersex protagonist, or an asexual major character. The main page shows broad categories for representation.

Reading list screenshot 2

But there are arrows underneath the list that let you scroll through different pages. The other pages focus in on a specific group of representation and let you narrow down the search in more detail.

Reading list screenshot 3

You can find the new version here: http://www.plot-twister.co.uk/queer-reading-list-search/.

It is currently a work in progress, so I would be interested in hearing feedback or ideas for improvement.

I’m also interested in finding contributors to the list. The old list was put together solely by myself, which means new books could get added only at the rate at which I could read them. If I can find more people interested in adding books to the list, then this can becoming something much longer and more useful. If you are interested in adding books to the list, please let me know.