Culture Consumption: September 2022

Hi, lovelies. I’m still running a bit slow with these. Here’s my month in books, movies, and television, and games.


As a fan of corvids, I was drawn to Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig based on the title alone. But the story about a woman who receives visions about the time and means of people’s deaths drew me in as a well. Having witnessed thousands of deaths, Miriam Black is bitingly grim humored, avoiding getting too close to other human beings — considering she can’t seem to change the fate of anyone she meets. But when she hitches a ride with Louis, a good-natured truck driver, she shakes his hand and sees his terrifying death, one for which she is destined to be present — and she realizes that she will have to fight to save his life in order to save her own. Blackbirds is a darkly grim character study, which manages to find the sliver of hope in the face of inevitable death.

Books Finished This Month:
1. Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig

Total Books for the Year: 31

Still in Progress at the End of the Month: Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse, East of Eden by John Steinbeck, Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games by Tracy Fullerton, Upon a Once Time, The 2022 Rhysling Anthology edited by F.J. Bergmann and Brian U. Garrison, and The Mothman Prophecies by John A. Keel

Short Stories & Poetry

Bonesoup” by Eugenia Triantafyllou (Strange Horizons) — “In Greece, we have a saying: You must eat the body part you want to grow stronger. Or maybe that’s just something my grandmother used to say.”

When Nenek Disappeared” by Joyce Chng (Occulum) — “When Nenek disappeared, everyone panicked. She simply left for her usual walk and didn’t come back. Mum was beside herself with worry. My aunts basically started calling everybody, demanding, beseeching, begging for her whereabouts.”

When I Try to Write an Elegy” by Jeannine Hall Gailey (Verse Daily) —

“I try to make it pastoral. You know, bunnies and deer
and flowers. It’s not as if they’re ever out of the picture —
when things go wrong, there’s always a fox crouching
under a lunar eclipse on the drive to the hospital”

The Green Man’s Wife” by Archita Mittra (Tasavvur) — “Golden light trickles through the foliage, casting dappled shadows all around. For one strange moment you see something move behind the old vine-entangled statues in the garden. Then, the candle flickers and your vision blurs.”

What Cradles Us But Will Not Set Us Free” by Nin Harris (Strange Horizons) — “It is as though time forgot to erode this pastel emerald green colonial mansion, hidden away by hedges and tall trees. Its façade is immaculate, the cream trimmings pristine. Bougainvilleas grow in arches and trellises around and over it. Idyllic, almost. What lurks within is a different story altogether.”

Knock, Knock, Wolf” by P.G. Galalis (PseudoPod) — “Every autumn, after the last leaves fell and the bare trees rattled their bone song to an empty sky, the widow Clarabel started baking. Five parts flour, three parts water, a pinch of salt and emptins for leavening, plus a handful of the devil’s blend, finely ground. She would let the loaf go stale for a day, then scatter it about the field between her cottage and the forest.”

The Construct’s Co-Emergence” by Linda D. Addison (Uncanny Magazine) —

“I hold the Singularity
in breath I do not possess,
in imagination I control,
in history erased from
each new iteration.”

Songs in a Lesser Known Key” by Mjke Wood (PseudoPod) — “I sit up, lean back in my seat, and try to shake off the image of Ralph, bright red, screaming in my face, spit flying… Over a key signature for God’s sake.”


I saw a lot  of fun films this month, but here are a couple of standouts.

First, I was not prepared for the level of epic that is RRR, aTelugu-language epic action film about two men on opposite sides of a revolution. Just imagine a man leaping into a crowd of hundreds for a fight and another uses a wolf to hit a tiger — and that’s just our introduction to these characters. Plus there are huge dance numbers, the best of all bromances, eye-popping action sequences with pyrotechnics, water displays, and the full works. My swing of emotions throughout this entire film was like riding the wildest of rollercoasters. Absolutely one of the best movies I’ve seen this year.

Two men vigorously dancing
Ram Charan Teja and N.T. Rama Rao Jr. dancing it up in RRR (2022)

Pearl is a prequel to Ti West’s X, both of which star Mia Goth. While X explored 1970s slasher films and the porn industry, Pearl is a character study about a young woman who feels trapped by her farm life, reflecting early cinema. With her husband away at ware and desperate to leave home and become a star, she makes increasingly violent choices in order to pursue her dreams. Goth’s performance is on another level in this film, always on the edge of out of control, but reigned in enough to provide a sense of empathy.

Mia Goth in Pearl (2022)

New-to-Me Movies Watched Last Month:
1. Fear Street: 1994 (2021)
2. Fear Street: 1978 (2021)
3. Fear Street: 1666 (2021)
4. RRR (2022)
5. American Ultra (2015)
6. Pearl (2022)
7. Iron Fists and Kung Fu Kicks (2019)
8. The Northman (2022)
9. A Writer’s Odyssey (2021)


The Sandman was a phenomenal adaptation of one of my all-time favorite graphic series, as well as my favorite Neil Gaiman storyline. The story, the tone, the style, and the casting is fantastic throughout the series. I adore all the characters — to name just a few Boyd Holbrook is a truly charming and terrifying Corinthian, Tom Sturridge evokes the moody seriousness of Dream, and though she’s only in a single episode Kirby Howell-Baptiste captures the essence of death perfectly.

Dream (Tom Sturridge) and Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) have a chat.
Boyd Holbrook as the Corinthian.


I didn’t dive into any games this past month, as I’ve been a bit too busy with other stuff. However, I’m itching to dive back into The Cult of the Lamb and Horizon II: Forbidden West.

That’s it for me! What are you reading? Watching? Loving right now?