It’s rare to have such good sunshine in May, but 2018 has been blessed with great weather so far. This has meant lots of time sitting outside reading while the dogs play, and lots of time thinking about writing which has helped me complete my writing goals.

I did finally get Nige to bring himself and his script so we could do a readthrough. I’m not going to comment much on it until he’s ready apart from saying I love it so far.

May was also the month of TV cancellations. There was a huge number announced, including some I love. Luckily The Magicians had already been picked up for the next season, but my other favourite, The Expanse, was touch and go for two weeks until Amazon took it from SyFy.

It felt like a cull of progressive shows, with Brooklyn Nine-Nine only just getting saved, and Lucifer still waiting to hear. Both had openly LGBT and characters of colour main cast. As for Desi fans, Timeless, Designated Survivor and Quantico all got cancelled. iZombie has been renewed for one more season only. That’s four fewer Desi actors on screen.

Writing

I (almost) finished my WIP THE CURSED HEIR! I have the final two chapters to edit, but I’m very happy with everything up to that point. It’ll be off to my beta in June, so hopefully more about it then. And more about my next project.

Books

Still caught up in reading heists, The Quantum Magician was a good addition. This is a novel about science and factions and scheming and treachery and a heist, which sounds like fun, and it is, but it’s also an intense read. This is no beach novel. The detailed science slowed me down, as did following the many different plot threads, but ultimately it was worth it for a smart and satisfying ending. There’s so much in this, from the various factions of humans to their often similar but opposing goals. Most authors would have got about four books out of this one. That said, the worldbuilding is deep enough I can imagine this is the first of many.

Then I read three anthologies. I love anthologies for bursts of stories often with different styles, but I do read them more slowly than novels.

Next up was Star Wars From a Certain Point of View. I loved the idea of the anthology, Star Wars as told by the minor characters, the guy in the cantina, the alien in the trash compactor, it’s really unique. It felt like the minor character of Star Wars: A New Hope had been shared out, then written. All of them were good fun and added to the universe, with a handful that I found incredible. Worth a read for any Star Wars fan.

Star Wars from a Certain Point of View

The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories is a wonderfully diverse look at djinn/jinn/genies. The stories are global, as are the points of view, and each djinn is unique, delivering a truly staggering variety of stories. Reap by Sami Shah was my absolute favourite, for the story, the politics, the sheer horror of it all. Incredible.

I also re-read Not So Stories. I’d read the ARC on my phone before, but it was incredibly satisfying to read the paperback and see the anthology brought to life. I’m obviously biased, but I think David did an incredible job curating these stories.

Films

I watched a good number of films in May, with a couple of cinema visits for a midnight showing of Infinity War and a nice Sunday romp for Deadpool 2.

I watched three films with desi cast, though all were minor. Pacific Rim 2 the kid’s in it for a few minutes then is the only one who dies (of course), Happy Anniversary has Rahul as the plucky token friend whereas Deadpool 2 shows them up with a minor, but well written, character who I bloody love.

Infinity War – what can I say? I enjoyed it. It had some strong moments. I was exceptionally disappointed by the number of brown people dead, and yes I’m including the faceless Wakandians who were battle fodder in the last scene. The MCU has only ever had three asians, (two under full makeup) and two of them are now gone.*

The Russo’s have always caped hard for Iron Man (Remember Cap 3? No, I don’t either, since it was Tony’s story and personal character arc) and they do so here again. I really think their movies would be stronger if they stopped leaning so hard on him and let the other characters breathe. They rely on the earlier films to make the audience love these characters. I’m not sure how well it works for someone who hasn’t seen every one of them. You read between the lines, you allow the scores to work their magic. But the film does little of it.

Avengers Infinity War

That said, Thor was fantastic. They’d kept a lot of his improved depth from Ragnarok and it showed. I liked him. I was very sad they chose to give him his eye back (magically fixing disability is a bad trope) and his weapon. I liked that he’d learned he was more than just his hammer.

Plus, once the battle was over, they showed us Thanos. Him of the big backstory. Him of the major moments in the film. By giving him the post-battle joy of seeing his plans come to fruition, they made him their protagonist. An unusual choice.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to make a film with so many heroes. Just, maybe can Hollywood stop hurting and killing brown people in general so it doesn’t feel this bad every single time.

* Yes I’m sure there’ll be some big rollback & not everyone will be dead. I can still be sad I had to see them die.

I’d missed Bladerunner 2049 at the cinema, which was a shame as the visuals were astounding. However, I wasn’t sold on the story. The main story was of the reproduction of replicants, but it felt very clunky and not well thought through. Plus to show us that plot from the POV of a man (male replicant) wasn’t the best idea.

I’d also missed Pacific Rim 2 which was a shame! The visuals here were more about pretty giant robots bashing other giant robots, plus John Boyega looking hot as hell. A good, fun action flick that never tried to be much more than that.

I watched Netflix’s Happy Anniversary. I watched because Rahul Kohli is in it. He was great. The rest, not so much.

Hari Kondabolu’s Warn Your Relatives was also on Netflix. Now that is worth a watch. It’s a live show and he’s on top form with lots of great jokes. The mango sketch is the most me.

Deadpool 2 was a great cinema trip. Similarly to the first, it’s a good irreverent superhero story with some real heart and unusual beats. Much less machismo than some of his fans might realise. Like the first, it’s not perfect, some of the jokes work better than others but overall it’s a really fun piece. Plus I’m still not over them treating Dopinder like a person and not a comedy accent. It shouldn’t be that hard, and yet it is.

TV

We started out watching the new Lost in Space, but after four episodes we’d have enough. I do like disaster movies but this really felt a little bit too much like they lurched from one mess to another with zero thought.

It did lead to a rewatch of Almost Human. I do love sci-fi anyway and this was characterised by such strong leads. Karl Urban and Michael Ealy has such chemistry it’s a shame it got canned. Though perhaps it got canned because they had such chemistry, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Dear White People season 2 felt very topical especially with the alt-right troll attacking Sam. The stories dug deep and touched on the historical background to many of the issues that still plague people today.

I’m still midwatch on Into the Badlands and The Expanse and Westworld.

Games

I’m still playing Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp in spare mobile moments, but my PC gaming was consumed by the fresh release Frostpunk.

Frostpunk is a survival game set in a future England where climate change means the temperature has dropped drastically. It’s all about building a new city, exploring the wastes for survivors, resources and tech, and surviving the increasingly glacial environment. The game allows you to control your citizens with either faith, churches and priests up to brutal ‘faithkeepers’ or order, prisons and police which leads to a complete dictatorship. I tried both and found religion to be my opiate for the masses.

Frostpunk

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