"everything goes" + reviews

  1. The Obelisk Gate, NK Jemisin: read this out of order, so had no idea what was going on for the first 50 pages or so, but WHAT a universe. Would go back and read the earlier books.

  2. Gold Fame Citrus, Claire Vaye Watkins: post-climate apocalypse, a former starlet, her man and a baby wander the desert.

  3. Burial Rites, Hannah Kent: An Icelandic family takes in a convicted murderess before her execution. Scandinoir on the backdrop of old Icelandic life with its brutality and unpredictability. Mentions sexual assault.

  4. Uprooted, Naomi Novik: High fantasy – village girl brought into the tutelage of mysterious wizard in the tower, I liked the worldbuilding but not its ideas about evil

  5. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, Claire North: World-ending conpiracies among a group of people who never die but are continually reborn. Tangly but good pace.

  6. A Crowd of Twisted Things, Dawn Farnham: Historical fiction set in colonial Singapore, based on Maria Hertogh's story. Eurasian woman protagonist. I found the protagonist a bit too whiny.

  7. Station Eleven, Emily St John Mandel: post-flu apocalypse rebuilding of society and a mysterious “prophet”. Enjoyed this one.

  8. Inspector Imanishi Investigates, Seicho Matsumoto: Bucolic Japanese murder with some surprising twists, but otherwise classic whodunit. Reminded me of the Martin Beck series.

  9. Permanent Present Tense, Suzanne Corkin: The story of Henry Molaison and how he helped to pave new inroads into the neuroscience of memory

  10. The Chocolate Wars, Robert Cormier: schoolyard terror – autocratic teachers, the cunning gang that secretly runs the school, and the schoolboys coming of age in between. Reminded me of a Taiwanese school drama.

#reviews #books

This fiction podcast is often mentioned in the same breath as Limetown and Black Tapes. Indeed it is an example of the conspiracy/horror story so popular amongst fiction podcasts. The male protagonist is deliberately an “everyman”. He works a mind-numbing office job, has no appreciable social or family life, and finds himself addicted to an odd online game. He hops onto a mystery glitch in the game; this is attributed to the ineffable siren call of the eponymous town, but he doesn’t seem to have much to lose.

Unbelievably, the writers of Ostium chose to go with the narrative of a chosen/special one for the male protagonist, whose first reaction to meeting a badass woman is “Does she like me?”. Why are we still entertaining such stereotypes? The town has “some special connection” with him – exact nature unknown, naturally, but certainly he has few emotional stakes in risking his – and her – life exploring the town.

What was ultimately the most frustrating for me was her validation with the “maybe he's not like other guys” stance. I would rather listen to her perspective: her motivation may be clichéd, but at least I can understand its importance to this character.

#reviews #podcasts

The unnamed protagonist is out to search for his cat. But the lengths he must go and the secrets he will uncover are quite, quite unusual.

There is a gentle comedy in the narrator’s singleminded focus on his cat. Lovecraftian sensibilities feature significantly – all dark clouds and unspeakable monsters in the heart of the earth – but are tempered by good humour. “Horror” doesn’t quite cover it, but neither does “comedy”.

Each episode also features lengthy musical interludes – your mileage may vary, but I sometimes fast-forward through them as I find it disrupts the flow.

The first and fourth season feature separate, but contiguous storylines; the ones in between can probably be listened to separately, but feel more like unconnected vignettes of the strange world this cat-owner lives in. There are not as many cats as one might imagine.

My masterlist:

#reviews #podcasts #shortepisodes

I bet in the next Line of Duty there'll be the typically noir storyline of Steve + chronic back pain and someone (probably Kate) asking why he didn't go for physio and he'll say because there was a 10 week wait in his borough + appointment times don't fit shift work times

Today is a day for doing the needful, of quietly getting on with the things put aside, for preparing for the week ahead. It feels like it's been Sunday for at least three days now, because the schedule has been surprisingly busy. I try to make Sunday a day of rest, but that's not always possible; all I can do is to take rest where it comes.