Hi, lovelies. Here’s my month in books, movies, television, games, and podcasts.
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones is a dark tale of revenge, in which four American Indian men find themselves facing the consequences for their actions as youths. One by one, they are slowly hunted down by a strange entity, bent on making them pay. Beautifully written and shockingly gory, the story unfolds shifts between each of their points of views. The Only Good Indians blends intense action with sharp social commentary, presenting a book with a powerful and moving conclusion. The evolution of this story provided a number of surprises and ultimately left me in tears by the end. Fantastic.
From the Standard Cyclopedia of Recipes: Adapted Poems by B.C. Edwards is a collection of poetry that feels like medicinal show, poems acting as instructions for cures, cleaning products, fixtures, elixirs, and poisons. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I’ve resisted the urge to make yet another full post Junji Ito‘s work. Not that I’ll never make such a post (because we all know I’m going to be reading more of his books), but well, I’m resisting for now. Anyway, Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu is exactly what it sounds like — funny stories about living with cats, who Ito is equally creeped out and delighted by. However, because this is Ito, he relates these stories using his gorgeously terrifying style of artwork — perfectly illustrating how unsettling cats can be from time to time. It also portrays the way love for adorable animals can be weirdly intense, even creating a sense of jealousy when said cats show more affection for your spouse over you. On the whole, this book is at once charming, witty, and terrifying.
I’ve recently started working out an idea for a horror movie screenplay, so I’m reading some movie scripts to get an idea for style and tone. I won’t really be talking about them much at this point, but I’m including them in my list because, well, I like to keep track of these things.
Books Finished This Month:
1. The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
2. From the Standard Cyclopedia of Recipes: Adapted Poems by B.C. Edwards
3. Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu by Junji Ito
4. The Strangers, screenplay by Bryan Bertino
5. It Follows, screenplay by David Robert Mitchell
Total Books for the Year: 31
Still in Progress at the End of the Month: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and The Mothman Prophecies by John A. Keel
Short Stories & Poetry
After Sacrifice by Andi Talarico (Luna Luna Magazine) —
“Catholics believe in magic, which is to say
Transubstantiation, which is really to say sleight
of hand, which is to say we
Believe a miracle occurs each time the holy man, ordained,
offers the water and the wine,”
Single Malt Spacecraft by Marie Vibbert (Lightspeed Magazine) — “The first time Fresia tasted scotch, it was true love. She was twenty-two. Her boyfriend had just turned twenty-one and had gotten a bottle of Glen Livet from his dad. He poured a shot for himself and for his friend, but none for Fresia.”
I am the Queer You Hate by Joanna Valente (When I Was Human) —
“i don’t choose
who to love, don’t have anyone
i don’t love. love is not love
less, without conditions that lack
conditions. love is not rare
like a book that hasn’t been
published in years, like the spine
all bent and shifty”
Silver as the Devil’s Necklace by Isabel Cañas (Pseudopod) — “A black wail of wind curls around the house, la Llorona’s cold embrace, as Ruth opens the dresser drawer and takes her father’s pistol. Its weight is an old friend, the handle nestling into her palm like it was made for her.”
We Have Been Believers by Margaret Walker (The Slowdown) —
“We have been believers believing in the black gods of an
old land, believing in the secrets of the seeress and the
magic of the charmers and the power of the devil’s evil
A Being Together Amongst Strangers by Arkady Martine (Uncanny Magazine) — “The Miner’s Union got here first, in 1903, when they blasted the tunnel through the schist. They came from Colorado and Pennsylvania, from Ireland and Italy, Scotland and Canada; they came to work inside the mountain, one hundred eighty feet below sunlight. It was not like other mountains they had blasted through. Already it was the city, and already it was a breathing creature, even if its bloodstream was still being dynamited out of the rock.”
You Will Never Gat Death / Out of Your System by Dana Levin (The Slowdown) —
“How old is the earth? I asked my machine, and it said: Five great extinctions, one in process, four and a half billion years.
It has always been very busy on Earth: so much coming and going! The terror and the hope ribboning through that.”
Directed by Sharon Lewis, Brown Girl Begins is an adaptation and prequel of Nalo Hopkinson’s novel Brown Girl in the Ring. In a post-apocalyptic future, a young woman comes into her own power as she comes head to head with the local crime lord who runs the Burn. Delving into Caribbean religion and lore, the story provides a vision of magic and loas within an apocalyptic future cityscape. This indie movie does a lot with very little. It’s great. Check out my full review and some info on the development process on Once Upon the Weird.
New-to-Me Movies Watched Last Month:
1. Brown Girl Begins (2017)
2. I Kill Giants (2017)
3. Beauty and the Beast (2017)
I haven’t been doing a ton of new TV watching — mostly just pulling up comfort watches here and there to get me through the month. However, the Great X-Files Rewatch, I have have two new recap and reviews up for “Conduit” and “The Jersey Devil.” One was great, the other not so much.
I still haven’t returned to The Last of Us 2, though I think I’m starting to get back into the right headspace for it. In the meantime, I’ve been playing a bit of Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, the hugely popular platformer battle royale game at which I am utterly terrible. Blame the player, not the game.
Fall Guys features strange little bean-looking characters in an assortment of customizable bright colors and patters (and did I balk at that going for all grey tones, why yes I did). Among 60 other characters, your aim is make it through an obstacle coarse to the finish line or some other mini-game challenge. There are four to five rounds, and the final winner of the last round is the ultimate champion wins a shiny crown. (I’m lucky if I make it past the first round most times, but whatever.) It’s a fun and challenging game, one which seems like it would be even more fun to play if you had friends to join. (Hey, don’t look at me like that, I have friends. They’re just not gamers.)
I’ve also been playing some mobile games. Stella and Outlanders I’ve started played before. Stella is a side-scrolling puzzle game, about a woman in white running through terrifying worlds. Thus far, the worlds don’t feel entirely cohesive. However, the gameplay is fun (similar to one of my favorite games, Inside)
Outlanders is a community building game, which I loved. Recently, they introduced several new levels, with new goals and challenges. The gameplay is the same and I’m continuing to love the experience.
Next Stop Nowhere is a story-based adventure game from Night School Studio (creators of Oxenfree). The game is a road trip story, about a long-distance hauler who gets wrapped up with a group of questionable characters. The choices you make determine your relationships with the characters and affect how the story plays out. The vibrant colors and excellent voice acting make this one compelling, and I’m enjoying it thus far.
If you love The Princess Bride and want to hear two smart people gush about how much they love it, too, then check out the most recent episode of Book Riot’s Book Nerd Movie Club. They discuss both the book and the movie, comparing what works and what doesn’t work in both. Spoiler: There’s not much wrong with the movie.
As I’ve said before, Writing Excuses is always great. Here are a couple of episodes I especially loved — Depicting Religions That Are Not Your Own and Tools for Writing and Worldbuilding, with Erin Roberts.
Imaginary Worlds has a wonderful interview with Doug Jones, an actor best known for his work in creature features, often bringing emotion and depth to the creature from inside thick layers of makeup and a rubber suit.
That’s it for me! What are you reading? Watching? Loving right now?