What I read or watched yesterday…

One of the things I’m toying with is posting a brief diary of the new “culture” consumed every day. I find I look back and can’t always pinpoint when I read something, hence this.

There are some possible exceptions. I don’t know that I want to include anything here about short fiction I’m reading for the year’s best because it conflicts with Last Short Story, and because it seems like a fairly poor idea.

I also won’t post about some novels. Every now and then manuscripts fall into my hands, legitimately (!), and it’s best not to comment publicly on them until a more appropriate time.

With those two caveats, though, here’s the rather passive amount of culture I consumed on a holiday Sunday when I slept as late as I have in three years, and when we did go swimming for a while.

I’m been watching the first season of Kelsey Grammer’s new political drama, Boss. For those unfamiliar with it, Grammer plays a mayor of Chicago diagnosed with a degenerative neurological condition. The script is tight, the cast is good, and the stories work. I’m not 100% I love it, but I find myself compelled to keep watching, which is a good sign.

I also watched the final two episodes of season two of Downton Abbey. Somehow I seem to have watched most of Downton Abbey on planes – season one on the Reno/WorldCon trip and most of season two on the NYC/LA/World Fantasy trip – but I’d not quite finished till last night. It’s a real soap opera now, and I’m not as impressed with s.2 as I was with s.1, but it still the right thing for the day.

Finally, during 2011 I purchased an iPad. That lead to me dipping my toes into the world of comics. I’ve never been an active comics reader, having read a small number of superhero comics as child, then Neil’s Sandman and Dave Sim’s Cerebus later on in life. Everything else passed me by, but James Bradley had me check out and rather enjoy Warren Ellis’s Planetary, and it got me interested enough to dabble.

Yesterday I read the opening three issues of Grant Morrison & Sean Murphy’s Joe the Barbarian. I’d seen the omnibus in Planet, but don’t really want to get into acquiring physical comics, so was happy to read it on the iPad. The story, of a young boy going into some kind of insulin shock and either seeing or hallucinating a great universe-saving epic adventure is pretty cool, and the art is great (though I sometimes seem to find comics panels generally confusing). I also tried issue 1 of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s Spaceman. I think I want to re-read it before posting more on it.

That’s my culture for 1 January. I’m not expecting to add much to it today. It’s my birthday and I expect demands for my time will distract me from things, but we shall see.

3 thoughts on “What I read or watched yesterday…”

  1. Happy birthday and happy new year!

    Downton was off the planet in season 2 but it has pulled back a lot with the Christmas special, which resolves several ongoing plots and allows you to breathe a bit before they head into season 3. I recommend it!

  2. Thanks for the birthday wishes, and the same to you for the New Year! DA was a bit mad in season 2. I am rather tired of the whole melodrama between Mary & Matthew, both of whom need a good smack in the head.

  3. Hi Jonathan,

    I happen to be quite the comics fan, so its great to hear that you’re dipping your toes back into it. If you’re looking for great SF comics, I have a couple recommendations:

    1. DMZ, written by Brian Wood, Published by Vertigo Comics. This is a great series that portrays a near-future civil war in the united states, with Manhattan Island as the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Its a great commentary on the Iraq War and related international relations issues… really top-notch speculative fiction

    2. Elephantmen, written by Richard Starkings, and published by Image Comics. This is a story about genetically-engineered half-animal soldiers (Elephantmen!) adapting to a post-war life. It brings in a bunch of great noir elements and has absolutely fantastic art!

    3. Fear Agent, written by Rick Remender, and published by Image Comics. This is a fantastic take on the classic pulp space-hero. Time travel, planetary genocide and alcoholism blend into a great romp of a story!

    4. Wasteland, written by Anthony Johnston, and published by ONI press. A great post-apocalyptic story that seems to blend fantasy and SF, almost leaning towards epic fantasy tropes. Also one of those neo-medieval settings, Gary?

    5. Orc Stain, written and drawn by James Stokoe. An absolutely twisted take on the Orc Horde that is completely worth the ‘questionable content’. Viva La Gronch! Do not miss out on this gem! (but don’t take it too seriously!)

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