Review: Gaysia

gaysia cover

[crossposted from Radically Queer]

When I recently received a copy of Benjamin Law’s Gaysia to review, I admit I was a bit skeptical, given the title. I needn’t have been worried, however. Law blends an accessible journalistic style familiar to fans of travel writing with solid research and investigation into various queer cultures in the countries he visits. Each chapter focuses on a country, and I was happy to find that despite the cheeky title, the coverage is quite comprehensive when it comes to queer identities and communities. Law focuses quite a bit on transfeminine folks of various identities, as well as queer people involved in sex work, silenced lesbians, and even the often-abused wives of MSM in a repressive society, showing a refreshing willingness to consider queer life from all angles. The account is honest, as Law admits his own ignorance going into some situations, and thus particularly accessible to the reader who is interested in but not particularly familiar with queer Asian cultures.  I was eager to ask Law some questions about his process and what he learned in his travels.

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Playing LOTRO for Tolkien Fans

In a few weeks, the course that initially got me playing LOTRO (Lord of the Rings Online) comes back for a second run.  Online Games: Literature, New Media, and Narrative is taught through Coursera by Jay Clayton, a literature professor and rather charming Tolkien geek, and focuses on narrative by comparing LOTRO, The Lord of the Rings, and the Peter Jackson films of the same name. When I first took the course last year, I was a big Tolkien fan but a newbie to LOTRO and to MMORPGs in general, and I imagine I’m not the only one. So I thought this would be a good time, as promised, to cover LOTRO from the perspective of a Tolkien fan–what’s cool about it, and what to avoid. If you’re new to MMORPGs, check out my review of the LOTRO experience before the course starts.

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