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Each month, we look back over the media we loved in the previous month, from books to film to video games and more.


”Here Comes A Thought” from Steven Universe — I don’t watch Steven Universe, but I heartily appreciate everything it’s doing in terms of representation. While I mostly know what it’s doing for family and queer representation (like Garnet, a character described to me at least twice over as two tiny lesbians in a trench coat, which is, like, sign me up, sister), I was pleasantly surprised to find that a recent episode featured a song about mindful meditation. I’ve had terrific anxiety my entire life and have only in recent years begun to understand what it is and cope with it, so my childhood experience with anxiety was largely one of hopelessness and confusion. The fact that there’s an accessible song for kids to deal with heavy thoughts? Gives me a lot of hope as an adult.


A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers — This book was delightful fun from start to finish, minus a few well-broken hearts along the way. A rollicking road trip story about a spaceship crew-slash-found family was always going to appeal to me, and the great characters and their wonderful relationships hit all the right buttons for me. The sequel is out soon, and I can hardly wait.


I was so swamped in August that I took in way less media than I normally do. It was especially gutting because August is like the pre-game month before the publishing industry opens its maw like the Cave of Wonders to lure all readers to their literary doom. (Also, I went to a convention so I can forgive myself I GUESS.) So I only have one book!

Company Town by Madeline Ashby — I've been waiting so long and it finally arrived! Friends, I loved this book. Hwa works for a sex worker's union on an oil rig, and everything changes when the Lynch family buys the rig and its patriarch wants Hwa to come work for him to protect his son, Joel Lynch, from death threats. Taking care of an incredibly smart teenager, dealing with a slow burn attraction to her boss, and the class/body issues that plague her everyday life would be enough, but also, there's a serial killer on the loose, targeting people Hwa cares about. There's so much happening in this novel underneath the surface; Madeline Ashby's fascination with the future comes through beautifully, as well as her recognition that for all the cool things it will bring us, it will also be accompanied by deep, systemic issues. It's a fairly compact novel, so if you like near future SF set on Earth, I highly recommend this.


The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley — This is another recommendation from [personal profile] bookgazing because she is really good at this. It's a very quiet, thoughtful story involving explosions, civil servants, watchmakers, academics, and a clockwork octopus. I spent two days being really resentful of everything that was between me and uninterrupted reading time to spend with it. I enjoyed the first two-thirds of the book completely! There is a slow-burning queer romance that I adore, there are elaborate schemes and Rube-Goldberg style machinations, there is a clockwork octopus (I love that octopus)... But it does some things with its female character (an academic in nineteenth-century London trying to prove the existence of aether) that I think are... Very frustrating, to say the least. And the end of the bombing storyline was a bit too pat and easily resolved? I still loved it though, so...

The Black Tapes — I have finally listened to The Black Tapes after everyone and their cat recommended it to me! I thought I wasn't going to like it, because literally all I knew about it was "horror podcast" and "the two leads need to kiss", but then I mainlined both series in like three days, so I GUESS I WAS WRONG. I like the balance between mystery and horror! I like how it manages to be unnerving even after the point where it stops being actively scary! I am utterly charmed by Alex and Nic, and Strand's voice, man, that makes up for a lot of his personality. I have Issues with parts of it (the pacing in series one felt somewhat uneven, I side-eye several of the character choices in series two, and do not talk to me about how confused my genre-savvy is right now!), but my issue right now is where is the rest of it?!

Finding Dory — OH LOOK, it is another Pixar movie that made me cry, who is surprised. For some reason, even though every beat of the relationships and most of the plot was what I expected, Dory's character and her trying so hard made me cry! I REALLY IDENTIFY WITH THE FISH WITH NO MEMORY AND SLIGHTLY FLAWED COPING STRATEGIES, OKAY. I wasn't necessarily sold on all of it — some of the jokes just seemed mean — but I was just expecting a reskinned Finding Nemo and instead I was crying about shells. How did this happen?

Date: 2016-09-13 09:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] readingtheend.com
I promise nothing as we have different reading tastes, but I checked Company Town out of the library the last time I was there. I read the first couple chapters of it and was enjoying it almost immediately so WE'LL SEE.

Date: 2016-09-14 03:24 pm (UTC)
brownbetty: (Default)
From: [personal profile] brownbetty
I failed out of The Watchmaker etc. when its female academic twigged my Harpy-o-meter, and I've been wondering if I was too fast to judge.


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