June started off with Piglet somehow hurting her foot and needing surgery. She got through it okay and it healed up quickly, but as usual, the insurance managed to weasel out of paying a decent amount of the bill. Still, the main thing is she’s all well now.

Piglet modelling her bandages

I mentioned Lucifer as on the chopping block last month, but in good news, it got picked up by Netflix! It’s not my absolute favourite (The Expanse and The Magicians), but it’s a good fun series with some fantastic characters.

It’s been another sunny month, hello climate change, so I’ve read much less than usual. I am happy with my writing goals, and I did pretty well absorbing other media.

Nige and I are still reading through his script, we’ll have completed it by July!

Writing

I started the Clarion West Write-A-Thon by editing my sci-fi WIP. I’m posting weekly updates so check there for more info. I’m also doing a little last minute editing on my YA novel. I’m hoping to share it with my Clarion West littermates for feedback sometime in July so I’m picking away at the many rough spots.

The Cursed Heir Aesthetic

Books

Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Summers. This is a lovely anthology full of bright ideas and hope. I wrote a little about it here.

Extra Curricular Activities is a novella set in the same universe as Machineries of Empire. Set earlier in Jedao’s career, it’s a fun story which adds some lovely worldbuilding. Duelling using pathogens! Mothers who send goose fat! What Jedao uses the goose fat for!

“You’d be surprised at the things I know how to do,” Jedao said.

Honestly, I’d devour anything Yoon Ha Lee writes in this universe. I need to try more of his work.

Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular Activities

I also did quite a bit of beta reading this month, so a little less to report. It was good for me though, some great stories to read while sitting in the sunshine.

Films

I started Pride month with Love, Simon. I’d heard mostly good things about it, a friendly rom-com for the queer community. Unlike a lot of people excited about the news, I hadn’t read the book.

I think I was disappointed in how the film framed Simon as ‘normal’ (how many times did he say he was normal? Just like you? Too many). The white gay closeted kid with the rich and accepting family, compared to Ethan the black femme out kid.

“I wish he wouldn’t make it so easy for them.” Simon’s grumbled asides regarding Ethan’s clothing and manner.

Easy being slightly longer hair and tasteful clothing. Apparently this upsets Simon. Simon even has the cheek to say that being out was ‘easy’ for the constantly bullied Ethan. This led to one of my favourite scenes, Ethan explaining how his mother lies about girls he’s dating with a wistful look in her eye. Ethan is a femme black kid with an unsupportive family, and Simon thinks it’s easier for him?

Simon: I don’t know, I — maybe I was jealous. You’ve been out since you were 16, and it always seemed so easy for you.

Ethan: Easy? Are you kidding me? My mom still tells my grandparents about all the girls I’m dating when we go over to their house for dinner every Sunday. She says it’s because they’re old and religious and it’s just easier that way. I don’t know, maybe that’s true. But you should hear her voice when she talks about the girls.

I’m happy Simon got over some of his internalised homophobia, but there was no sign of any change to his treatment of Ethan by the end of the film. Its 20gayteen, Simon needs to learn the word intersectionality and pass it along to the viewers, please.

A Serbian animated sci-fi movie, Technotise: Edit and I was recommended on Twitter. It was a very odd film, with lovely unique animation and a non-Western story structure, but with some less good representation of autism and sexism. I don’t think I’d recommend it.

TV

Westworld S2 was a big disappointment. I loved the worldbuilding in season 1, characters like Maeve and Bernard, and had high hopes that they would continue to expand the world, answer some questions and pose more. In season 1 it was fun to figure out the truth from all the clues and we had a lot of fun guessing about everyone from Bernard to William. In season 2, it felt like the tricks were deployed to make it harder to figure out, not to add fun. I also felt confused as to their choices, they showed me a white woman who enjoyed living it up in a fake Raj oppressing Indians, and yet I am supposed to feel empathy for her? During this hostile atmosphere of Brexit? I think not. Similarly with Dolores and Maeve; I found Maeve to be much more heroic, and Dolores almost villainous, and yet I’m supposed to enjoy the finale with Maeve dead and Dolores free?

When Dolores jumped into Charlotte Hale, I was intrigued. Finally something new. But within minutes she’s back in her old body for reasons. Boo.

June saw the end of season 3 of The Expanse (now homed at Amazon Prime for season 4). It’s been my favourite show since its inception, but this season really levelled up. The politics, the characters, the relationships – you have the most emotionally constipated character in season 1 evolving into the person who is helping their crew during crises. Chrisjen is still the most stunning older woman on TV (why do we stop seeing older women? Oh yes, we know why) and the plot. Incredible – go watch this show, everyone. Still no desi main or recurring cast, but there have been a few scattered guest actors, such as Private Jed Trepp in the banner of this post.

Chrisjen Avasarala

Chrisjen Avasarala

Games

I got sucked into trying out Jurassic World Evolution. I’m not usually into licenced games but theme park dinosaurs, what’s not to love? Made by the Planet Coaster devs, they have a pretty good handle on a sim game. It’s not deep and needs a good few (hopefully) free patches to add some simple things to improve the UI, as simple as a list of your dinosaurs in the park. Still, despite the grind of keeping a park running and guests alive (or not if you have the profits to pay off their lawsuits), the dinosaurs are a lot of fun.

Grumpy the killer dino

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