My favourite books/podcasts/tv shows

Hey everyone! So, I haven’t done one of these posts for a while–not because I was any busier than usual, I just I don’t consume media at that fast a rate I can put together a good post every week. I hope that makes sense! Anyway, here are some of my favourite things from the past god-knows-how-long-by-the-time-I-post-this, hopefully you enjoy. 🙂

Gideon The Ninth

Okay, so my friend let me borrow this book and oh my gosh, it is so cool. The worldbuilding! The characters! The prose! This book just kinda ticks all the boxes for me.

Simply put, it’s about lesbian necromancers in space–it’s wild and chaotic in the best way possible, without feeling poorly planned, unapologetically lavish and dramatic, and all at the same time manages to absolutely chew up your heart and spit it out on the floor. It follows Gideon, a servant indentured to the Ninth House–one part of a futuristic necromancer cult. (Or maybe they’re just a whole society? It’s never made clear if people exist outside of the cult, or this is just all that’s left of humanity, in this book anyway, I’m still reading the sequel.)

Gideon’s character is so interesting, because she’s bitter and sarcastic and deeply wounded by her past, but deep down has such a big heart, and is also just absolute chaos, I like her a lot. Anyway, her and her longtime nemesis Harrow–basically the princess of the Ninth House, and an incredibly powerful necromancer who’s been raised for glory and power and glory and power alone– are forced to team up, and I think you can see where this is going. Their relationship is so well-written, and. But there’s also, in no particular order: murder, like a lot of murder, political intrigue, super cool worldbuilding, the most gorgeously written fight scenes, and a lot more. This book has something for everyone, and I can’t recommend it enough.

The Left Right Game

Okay, so I just finished binge-listening to this podcast yesterday and HOLY SHIT! This is one of the most polished, elegant (for lack of better wording) shows I’ve listened to in ages. Now that I’ve worked on producing some audio stuff myself, I have such a deep respect for how much work must have been poured into every aspect of this show’s production.

I don’t want to spoil too much, but: this show follows Alice Sharmin, a twentysomething journalist working on what should have been a small, fifteen-minute radio piece on something known as the Left/Right Game, where you get in your car, take the nearest left, then the nearest right, and so on, until you reach the end of the road–checking up on reports of strange happenings that follow, should you follow this pattern for long enough. It’s fast-paced and full of exciting twists and turns, absolutely terrifying at times, but there are some real moments of beauty in between too, and the ending absolutely destroyed me, oh my gosh. You need to listen to this show!

The Dangerous Gift

So, as we’ve established, middle grade fantasy was pretty much my entire childhood, and where almost all of my positive memories of that time rest, honestly. Wings of Fire was one of those series that kinda raised me, I wrote a ton of fic for it when I was in middle school and I still do for fun sometimes. The world has always been this really safe, warm place for me to run too when my own stories were too wild and crazy to handle, and I’m really grateful to these books for giving me somewhere to figure out who I am, and grow up as a writer, I guess? I don’t know, they make me feel things, and anyway, the new book came out on March 2nd, and I’ve been absolutely losing my mind over it ever since.

For some quick context: Wings of Fire is this book series about a world full of dragons, who, rather than being magical props, have their own inner worlds and adventures, etc. And this one follows a young queen, Snowfall, who was forced to take over her kingdom after her mother was killed by a deadly plague. She struggles with anxiety about whether or not she’s a good enough queen, and doesn’t have a clue how to go about ruling her kingdom, which she loves so much, and just wants to serve as best she can. Her whole arc is about learning how to empathize with others, and become more secure in her own abilities. I don’t know, it really hit home for me, I could definitely relate to a lot of the things she goes through. We get some really interesting backstory in this book, too, and setup for the finale of this story arc. After I finished, I just kinda sat there for a while and stared at the wall, it was just so good, and made me feel all the feelings.

Like I said, these books have helped me through so much–I don’t know what exactly it is, but pretty much all of the characters I can connect to something I’ve gone through, which is either a wild coincidence, or a testament to how well they’re written. I don’t know where I’d be without them, and I’m just really glad they exist in the world.

Infinity Train

My friend got me into this show, and we finished the third season about a week ago, but I’ve kinda just been processing it ever since, because oh my god, it was so good. Infinity Train follows an endless, magical train designed to, essentially, force character development for the passengers, all of whom are taken aboard at some kind of impasse in their lives, and only let out when they feel better It’s definitely not as wholesome as it sounds though, or in any way a kids show, but I really love it–the worldbuilding is so cool, the characters are really well done, I love the art style, and also holy shit this show knows how to do horror good. It has some really interesting themes too–the source of a lot of the show’s horror is the idea of any one person being able to revoke another’s status as human, something that keeps coming back throughout each self-contained season, following one of the passengers on this train as they work through their issues. Its fourth and final season comes out in April, and I’m super excited!

Okay, I think that’s about all I have to gush about today! I don’t know how long it’s gonna take me to consume enough content to make another one of these posts again, but hopefully it’ll be soon. I’m gonna be offline this Friday, and I decided to take a break, but normal poetry posting is going to resume the week after this one.

Lots of love,

Lorna

Shoutout Saturday (book and podcast recommendations)

Hey guys! So I’ve been spending a lot of time by myself of late, just because I’m on winter break right now–and sometimes when I feel lonely, listening to podcasts helps. (This is gonna sound really sad–but it’s sorta like a one-sided phone call.) Anyway, here are some of my favourites I’ve recently discovered!

Zero Hours

This is one of those podcasts I’ve been meaning to get to for ages, and I’m so glad I finally did. It’s a short series of pieces exploring the end of the world, from 1722 to the present, to far, far into the future. It’s definitely not easy listening, or the best thing to put on if you’re already feeling anxious about the state of the world. But if you’re up to it, this show has some of the most brilliant, unique writing and sound design I’ve seen in a long time.

Some episodes explore dystopian societies, and horrifying wastelands, your typical “end of the world” fare. But other episodes explore a much more personal kind of apocalypse–a couple weighing the pros and cons of taking a miracle drug that might ruin their relationship, a bartender considering his options the night before Prohibition goes into effect. It’s definitely not rainbows and sunshine, but despite the grim stories this podcast tells, in the end, I think it’s a show about hope, and shared humanity.

Oh! And, it’s by the same people who made Wolf 359, so some of the voice actors from that star in it, which is super cool, just to get to see the same voices in a totally different context? I don’t know, it’s neat!

A Neon Darkness

So, The Bright Sessions has to be one of my favourite podcasts of all time. I binge-listened to it in, like, a week, because the writing is just so addictive–maybe I’ll write about it more at some point, or relisten. But the basic premise is that the show follows Dr. Bright, a therapist for people with superpowers, and her clients, whose stories all gradually come together. It discusses mental health and trauma in a really refreshing, poignant way, it has found family, and it’s just such a good show. Anyway, it’s over now, but the person who wrote it, Lauren Shippen, is still writing stuff in the universe–there are two spinoff shows out right now, and she’s writing three books about some of the supporting characters who didn’t get a chance to tell their full stories in the podcast.

A Neon Darkness explores the life of Damien, a nineteen-year-old with the power to make other people want (and therefore do) what he wants.

This book kept me up super late into the night, I just couldn’t put it down. In the podcast, I always hated Damien’s guts, and I still do–he does some really awful, inexcusable things. But after reading this book, I can empathize a little bit more with some of his experiences. The way he becomes the villain of his own story, and sabotages himself without even realizing it–I’ve definitely been there.

This book also has phenomenal representation, just like the podcast, which made me so happy–and yeah, you should check it out, and also listen to The Bright Sessions!

Station Arcadia

My friend introduced me to this show. I started listening to it a few days ago, and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since.

Station Arcadia is set in a barren, war-torn dystopian empire from the not-so-distant future. Each episode is a broadcast from our narrator, Kass, as she tells stories of those at the living very edges of society. (I’m only on episode five, but I’m pretty sure there’s gonna be a revolution, and I’m very hyped.) It’s got really good representation, and it’s got that super cool radio show format, which I’m always trash for in podcasts–and I love the mix of a new story every episode, but there’s still an overarching storyline, and of course, as the episodes go on you get to know the narrator. The sound design and music is also really well done, like wow.

I’m almost done casting for my podcast, and halfway through editing the first season, which is super exciting–and I guess it’s just comforting to see another small podcast, doing its thing really well, and putting out super high-quality content? It makes me really happy.

The Lower Light

Right now, this podcast is only on its first few episodes, but it deserves so much more attention!

The Lower Light follows Laurie Caston, a curator for the Lighthouse Museum, as he explores the artefacts and tells you the stories behind him. Each episode has a new stand-alone tale of selkies, or vampires, or other funky creatures, and it’s super cool. Laurie’s voice is so soothing to listen to, he’s pretty much the ideal narrator for a fiction podcast (in my humble opinion). Oh, and it’s got really awesome representation too, which is super cool to see!

The sound design is beautiful, and the writing is just so effortlessly elegant–somehow every time I listen to it, I feel like I’m right there with the characters, and I can just imagine the setting so vividly. Listening to this show is just an absolutely magical experience, and I can’t wait to see where it goes in the future.


Anyway, that’s all I have for you this week! I hope you all are taking care of yourselves, I know the holidays can be a really rough time, especially this year. I’m sending lots of hugs your way. I hope you’re all safe and healthy, and I’ll see you again in the New Year. 🙂

Lots of love,

Lorna