Culture Consumption: October 2022

Hi, lovelies. Here’s my month in books, movies, television, and games.


Trail of Lightning by Rebecca RoanhorseTrail of Lightning is a fantastic urban fantasy novel by Rebecca Roanhorse. Set after flooding and natural disasters caused by climate change, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) is surrounded by a massive wall that protects it from the outside world. However, the survivors face not only the aftereffects of natural disaster, but also the reawakening of witches, monsters, and old gods. Fighting these monsters is Maggie Hoskie, a supernaturally gifted monster hunter and killer, who must face her past in order to defeat them. This is a powerfully fun read, one that has me excited to explore more of this world.

Secret Passages by Axelle LenoirSecret Passages by Axelle Lenoir is a fictional memoir about growing up in a small town. The story imagines the author as a young girl being raise by parents who may or may not be aliens and whose brother’s imaginary friend may be a blood-thirsty demon. As a girl, she has a hard time relating to school, which seems like a strange place to her, and so she communes with the forest for comfort. It’s a delightfully weird book, and I hope the author continues the tale.

Books Finished This Month:
1. Secret Passages by Axelle Lenoir
2. The Eternal Smile by Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim
3. The 2022 Rhysling Anthology, edited by F.J. Bergmann and Brian U. Garrison
4. Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Total Books for the Year: 35

Still in Progress at the End of the Month: Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games by Tracy Fullerton and Upon a Once Time (anthology)

Short Stories & Poetry

Over the past month, I’ve been attempting to get through my backlog of PseudoPod episodes, and I’m finally starting to get close to getting fully caught up. PseudoPod is my favorite horror podcast, presenting phenomenal stories from a diverse set of authors. What’s more, they pay all of their staff, from editors to narrators to slush readers, which is phenomenal. Here are a few of the stories that I especially enjoyed from them this past month:

  • Flowering Evil” by Margaret St. Clair — “I never saw a plant I liked the looks of less”
  • The Bleak Communion of Abandoned Things” by M.A. Blanchard — “The ghost doesn’t waste time playing coy. The air temperature drops as I cross the threshold.”
  • Balloon Season” by Thomas Ha — “I’ve never gotten used to the sense of urgency of summer afternoons, that feeling of being drenched in the thickness of that still, blanketed heat, and trying to think of anything I’ve missed while checking the outside of the house.
  • Taxiptómy” by Shannyn Campbell — “Taxiptómy [tak-si-toe-mee] From the Greek words Taxis meaning ‘arrangement’ and Ptóma meaning ‘corpse’.”
  • Papa’s Wrench and the Wind Chime” by Marianne Halbert — “The patch of fog on the window, expanding and fading with each breath, was the only proof that I was still breathing as the school bus turned the corner.”
  • Trowel, Brush, Bones” by Audrey R. Hollis — “We pile out things on our beds, claiming the top bunk, claiming the bottom bunk, claiming the place by the window. One of us shuts the door. One of us puts her bag on the bed and asks, have we heard?”

I’ve also read quite a few poems and stories outside of PseudoPod. Those that I loved are listed below.

Eight Reasons for Silence” by Alison Colwell (Tangled Locks Journal) — “When it occurs the move is so unexpected, so sudden, that it takes your brain a few long seconds to catch up with what’s happening. By the time you regained your voice, your new stepmother already pushed your brothers, now swans, out the window. You watch them fly away from the castle in silence.”

Late Anthropocene Shechecheyanu” by Leah Falk (SWWIM) —

“Spring stutters, as it has
these last late years of ruin,
the sentence we are yearning for
coiled under its tongue.

A dog wanders the valley, ignoring
its girl’s call. Another storm
worries its skirts along the seaboard.”

How the Girls Came Home” by Eugenia Triantafyllou (Uncanny Magazine) — “When Amalia’s father shows her the shoes this morning she wants to cry. She wants to laugh. Call him a fool. But she doesn’t. She is too tired for that.”

Surat Dari Hantu” by Lisabelle Tay (Strange Horizons) — “It was quieter, once, in the black stretches of silence before dawn, and in those days the fear of men was sweeter.”

My Father’s Ghost Thinks About Joining the Circus” by Judy Kaber (SWWIM) —

“It’s the fragrance of peanut shells that draws him in,
the smell of horsewhipped joy in such a crowd.

Maybe I can follow him as he disappears around
the tent flap, maybe I can see his shadowless legs”

As a side note. I’ve noticed that the act of sharing poems and stories each month has inspired me to read more of them, which has me pretty pleased.


I love multiverse movies. I find the idea of experiencing different lives and different selves had we made different choices fascinating. So, I knew from the beginning I would enjoy Everything Everywhere All at Once — and it’s phenomenal. It’s not just one of the best is one of the best multiverse movies I’ve ever seen, it’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen — hands down.

Shattered reality in Everything Everywhere All at Once.

What makes this movie so beautiful is that outside of all the cool scifi and action sequences and mind-bending perspective and outrageous costumes, Everything Everywhere All at Once is at its heart the story of a family struggling to hold itself together in the face of everyday heartbreaks.

Joy Wang (Stephanie Hsu), Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh), and Waymond Wang (Ke Huy Quan).

Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) is a beleaguered woman, who feels ground down by her life as the owner of a laundry mat with her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) and as a mother unable to connect with her daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hsu). When Alpha Waymond suddenly tells her of alternate realities and claims she’s needed to save every universe in every reality, she can’t help but be drawn to the possibilities of other lives in which she could have made other choices.

This movie is beautiful, creative, surreal, stylish, and so, so moving. The directors, actors, and crew deserve to win so many awards for their work on this film.

Michelle Yeoh is the GOAT.

New-to-Me Movies Watched Last Month:
1. Tomb Raider (2018)
2. The Lego Movie (2014)
3. Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)
4. Hocus Pocus 2 (2022)


After seeing a number of clips and scenes on YouTube, I decided it was time to check out both seasons of Ted Lasso, a series on Apple+ about an American football coach who starts coaching a British football (soccer) team, despite knowing nothing about the sport. It’s a hilarious fish-out-of-water concept wrapped in a heart-warming package. Lasso is a charming and sweet dad-like figure, who cares about seeing his players excel both on and off the field. And the characters across the board are mostly good people in unique and interesting ways. This show is comfort food — and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Just a few of the amazing characters on Ted Lasso: Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt, Coach Lasso (Jason Sudeikis), and Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein).

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is a slick, fast-paced animated show based on the video game Cyberpunk 2077. In a high-tech world ruled by corporations above the law and rife with rival gangs and edgerunners (elite hackers and thieves with technological body modifications), the story follows a young man attempted to advance his place in society by attending an elite school for corporate kids. When his mother is killed in a gang incident, he finds and decides to become moded with military-grade tech — setting himself on a path to become an edgerunner. Set in the seedy underworld, the show is cynical in tone, with no one to be trusted.  Makes me interested in trying out the game.

Still from Cyberpunk: Edgerunners.


I finally finished the main storyline of Horizon II: Forbidden West. When I played the first game, I was set on getting as close to 100% of all the side-quests and collectables that I possibly could, but I was less inclined to make the attempt with this one, due to the fact that the world is so massive and there is just so much to do. So, I focused on the main storyline, which wrapped up in a satisfying way (while also providing room for a third game). At some point I may go back and attempt to complete more of the quests, but for now I’m satisfied with my experience. It’s another great game.

Game art for Horizon II: Forbidden West.

While housesitting at my brother’s house, I found Super Hot on his Playstation and jumped into the game. It’s an inventive shooter with a time-based mechanic (the enemies don’t move unless you move) that makes for some interesting puzzles. The gameplay is wrapped in a mind-bending, meta storyline that I don’t want to say too much about. It was fun to play, but I reached a point that was so extremely challenging, I essentially rage-quit. I’d like to go back and try it again at some point, but since I played it on his system I don’t have my save. So, I’ll have to start over from the beginning, but I’d be down to do that, as I’d like to see how this strange, unsettling story turns out.


With God of War: Ragnarök being released this week, I thought it was time for me to finally get around to playing the 2018 God of War. Opening up the game, I immediately sighed “Woah,” because it’s just so stunningly beautiful. I’m only a few hours in, but I’m already in love with Kratos and his son, this gorgeous world, and the exploration of Norse mythology. I can’t wait to keep playing — and to dive into the new game once I’m done.

God of War (2018).

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

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