Categories
Playlist

Playlist of the Month: March 2022

How It Was – Yoste on A Few Brief Moments – EP

twentyfive – Yoste on twentyfive – Single

Oh Dear, Oh Beaux – beaux on A Love Letter To the Moments Spent Outside

All Eyes On Me – Bo Burnham on Inside (The Songs)

The Wire – Vancouver Sleep Clinic on The Wire – Single

Picture of You (feat. Hayden Calnin) – Axel Flóvent on Picture of You (feat. Hayden Calnin) – Single

Fall Creek Boys Choir – James Blake & Bon Iver on Enough Thunder – EP

Wisdom, Justice, And Love – Linkin Park on A Thousand Suns

Lonely City – Mokita on Lonely City – Single

Holy Ghost and Hallelujah – flora cash on Our Generation

Sky High – Octavian on Sky High – Single

The Middle – Cal Trask & StayLoose on The Middle – Single

Fix You – Thorin Loeks on Fix You – Single

Lost Angel Nights – James Blake on Friends That Break Your Heart (Bonus)

Their Superhero – Jack in Water & Alaskan Tapes on Their Superhero – Single

Lost in Space – Emmit Fenn on Lost in Space – Single

How It Is – Majik on Under the Influence – EP

If I Die – Ed Prosek on If I Die – Single

Soul Mate – flora cash on Our Generation

Liberation – BUZZ on Liberation – Single

Down (Acoustic Version) – Landon Austin on Down (Acoustic Version) [Acoustic Version] – Single

Your Love – The Outfield on Big Innings: The Best of the Outfield

Self Control – Frank Ocean on Blonde

Let Me Swim – Yoste on Let Me Swim – Single

Diner – Charles Fauna on Diner – Single

The Best Part of Life – SAINt JHN on The Best Part of Life – Single

Love Me Or Leave Me – Munn on Love Me Or Leave Me – Single

F33l Lik3 Dyin – Playboi Carti on Whole Lotta Red

How To Save a Life (feat. Max Schneider) [Acoustic] – Tyler Ward on How To Save a Life (feat. Max Schneider) [Acoustic] – Single

Try To Forget – Tyler Ward on Try To Forget – Single

Brividi – Mahmood & BLANCO on Brividi – Single

The Chase – Emmit Fenn on The Chase – Single

You Found Me – The Fray on The Fray

Real – Majik on NOON // 215

You – Emmit Fenn on You – Single

You You You – GERD on In It To Lose – EP1

Say What You Will – James Blake on Friends That Break Your Heart (Bonus)

Funeral – James Blake & slowthai on Friends That Break Your Heart (Bonus)

Deletia (feat. Mysie) – Fyfe & Iskra Strings on Deletia (feat. Mysie) – Single

You (feat. Tusks) – Axel Flóvent on You (feat. Tusks) – Single

Made of Stars – DJ Taz Rashid on Be the Change

4r Da Squaw – Isaiah Rashad on The Sun’s Tirade

The Freshmen – The Verve Pipe on Villains

For The Squadron – SAINt JHN on For The Squadron – Single

Run – Vallis Alps on Fable – EP

Life Is Not The Same – James Blake on Friends That Break Your Heart (Bonus)

Walk Me Home – Said The Sky, ILLENIUM & Chelsea Cutler on Sentiment

Half Alive – Amber Run on Half Alive – Single

Fall with Me – King Henry & Delilah Montagu on Fall with Me – Single

Show Me (feat. Monica Martin) – James Blake on Friends That Break Your Heart (Bonus)

Show Me Where I Belong – Extreme Music on Dream Folk

Howling – RY X on Dawn2

I’m So Blessed You’re Mine – James Blake on Friends That Break Your Heart (Bonus)

Fall Into Me (Acoustic) – Forest Blakk on Fall Into Me (Acoustic) – Single

Ciao – Charles Fauna on Ciao – Single

Room for Another – Mokita on Room for Another – Single

This Is What It Feels Like (feat. Trevor Guthrie) – Armin van Buuren on Intense (Bonus Track Version)

Heart – Forester & Madeline on Heart – Single

like you’re god – mehro on Dark Corners – Single

STUPIDO STUPIDO – Fedez on DISUMANO

La Culpa (feat. Canelita) – C. Tangana, Omar Montes & Daviles de Novelda on La Culpa (feat. Canelita) – Single

Paris – The Chainsmokers on Memories…Do Not Open

Save Me – Majik on It’s Alright / Save Me – Single3

So Unimportant – Ethan Gruska & Bon Iver on So Unimportant – Single

Hourglass – Forester & Kotiēr on Watercolor

Night Sky – Fyfe & Iskra Strings on Night Sky – Single

Honey Bee – GERD on In It To Lose – EP

Good Like This – KAWALA on Better With You

Smooth Criminal – Michael Jackson on The Essential Michael Jackson4

Bel Air (feat. Mahmood & Poupie) – TODIEFOR on Bel Air (feat. Mahmood & Poupie) – Single

  1. Regina Spektor vibes
  2. “Hey, my music isn’t all sad British hipsters with laptops! … some of them are Australian.”
  3. One day I’m gonna have to search my own playlist archives and see how often I say “I miss Majik,” because it’s a lot.
  4. Brought back in because I’m updating my CPR certification, and we always called the CPR dummies “Annie” for whatever reason. Arrive at the scene, do the initial check: “Annie are you okay?”
Categories
Review

“Refuse to Choose!”

Barbara Sher

My friend Madi has been telling me to read “Refuse to Choose” for a while. (Well, not just me—recommending this book is something of a leitmotif for her.) And, at long last, I finally got to it.

Very early in the book, I had two very clear thoughts:

  1. I am not the target demographic of this book.
  2. Madi really, really is.

Which is a very interesting combination. I actually quite like how early on I was able to come to the first conclusion—we’re talking, “reading the first few pages while browsing in a bookstore” level. And there’s an honesty to that—Sher knows who she’s writing this for, and wants to make sure they know that the book is for them, pretty quickly. Which isn’t to say that I, as someone who, again, isn’t the target demographic, don’t find anything useful in this; at very least, it’s a solid insight into the way my friend’s mind works, and for that alone I’m glad I read it.

But further, for the people this book was meant for, wow is it ever meant for them. I could see, very clearly, just what made Madi love the book.

In short, this book is for and about what Sher calls Scanners. I’m not one—I’ve known since elementary school, if not earlier, that I wanted to Do Computers when I grew up, and I’ve never deviated from that. Scanners are the people whose minds don’t work like that—if they have that deep level of interest, it can change focus over time, or perhaps they have a handful of interests that all equally captivate them, or maybe (as Sher describes herself) you’re interested in everything. If any of that is ringing true to you, I highly recommend this book—it goes through some of the difficulties that you can find yourself facing, and provides some helpful tips for how to deal with them. (And, I want to stress, those difficulties aren’t “your brain is bad and you should feel bad, the solution is to Just Be Better”—it’s much more in the area of “society expects you to want to focus on one thing forever, and your brain just doesn’t work like that, so let’s go through ways you can make the world work for you.”)

And if you, like me, aren’t a Scanner… well, it’s still worth a read, to help you understand the Scanners in your life. Check it out.1

  1. This is a Bookshop affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I use Bookshop affiliate links instead of Amazon because they distribute a significant chunk of their profits to small, local book stores.
Categories
Review

“Iron Truth”

S.A. Tholin

Ebooks are fun, because unlike a paper book, you don’t have that physical sense of how far through the book you are. With a paperback, the first page feels very different from the second-to-last—the weight is distributed differently, it’s thicker or thinner in the hand. Not so for an ebook. I tend to leave the “percent complete” display on to try to get that back, but it fades into the background pretty quickly.

I became very aware of that… less than halfway through the book. Because, by the way the story was going, I thought I was nearly at the end. But no, that wasn’t the peak, just a local maximum, and then it was off again, with more to uncover.

Pretty early on, I was having a bit of a struggle, trying to decide if I was going to keep reading. (I did, and I’m glad of it!) As part of that, I skimmed a few reviews, and from that I remember a mention that “the book has a lot of sci-fi tropes.” That stuck in my mind a bit, because after all, nothing is original, it’s all just remixes. If you’re wondering, this book is a touch of Passengers, a great deal more Pandorum, a little bit of Halo, a splash of Doom, and a surprising little bit of Killjoys. And that’s not a bad thing; it’s fun to pick apart the pieces that made something, and try to figure out which piece you’re going to find next.

That’s what made this book so interesting, and why, despite the fact that it’s not at all a short book, I powered through it in just a couple days. I didn’t want to put it down—I had theory after theory of what was going on, why the planet it’s taking place on is like that, and wanted to know which was correct. Is this going the way of The Satan Pit, or is it a political intrigue whose cover-up is falling apart? Are the high-tech, vaguely church-y guys the good guys, or are the eco-terrorist-inspired people actually in the right? Or is it the—well, okay, no, it’s pretty easy to discount the cannibals as “the good guys,” but then, maybe nobody is the good guy. (That aspect of the story really shines as the book switches between two narrators—one, a true believer in one of those causes, the other, an outsider to everything, just as confused as the reader.)

For as creepy as the book was, I didn’t wind up jumping at shadows nearly as much as I was expecting. Because, sure, it’s a science-fiction horror thing, but it’s also a military piece and, more than all of that, a big ol’ mystery. And if I’m trying to solve a mystery, well, no time to be scared of the monsters in the dark—in mystery solving mode, I default to being Velma, and a jump scare just gets a “you stop that!”

All in all, this was a great read, and I highly recommend it if you love a good mystery, and a cool setting, like I do. Check it out.1

  1. This is an Amazon affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I prefer Bookshop affiliate links to Amazon when possible, but in this case, the book wasn’t available there, so it’ll have to do.
Categories
Review

“Nucleation”

Kimberly Unger

For the most part, I like the tech that provides the setting for this book, but it’s got a couple things that are very clearly “it needs to work this way for the story to have the right amount of tension” and instead broke the illusion. “There isn’t enough bandwidth for us to talk to you while you’re remote controlling the robot”? You’re in the same room; bandwidth constraints don’t apply, because why would you be round-tripping that data through the remote thing?

That aside, though, this was quite a fun read. And hey, most of the tech makes a lot of sense—if you can make a little wormhole, you send through some little tech, and use that to build bigger stuff. The insistence on calling nanobots “eenies” instead of, y’know, nanobots, felt a bit odd, but kinda worked as a way to displace it from ‘near future’ to… ‘slightly more distant future.’ It is an inhabited colony that this is happening on, and not Earth, so some amount of linguistic drift makes sense.

And while I griped a bit about the tension overtaking the illusion, the book did a great job of maintaining that narrative tension throughout. There were a couple times in there where I really couldn’t put it down, because I had to know what was going to happen next. Or, one notable time, where I already knew what was going to happen next, and was desperately hoping I was wrong.

In short, this is a good read, not too long, and while there’s room for a sequel, it feels like it was written to be a stand-alone story.1 Give it a go.2

  1. The ending feels less “alright, see you next book!” and more “a movie ending a note that would let them create a spin-off show if they wanted.”
  2. This is a Bookshop affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I use Bookshop affiliate links instead of Amazon because they distribute a significant chunk of their profits to small, local book stores.
Categories
Review

“The Outside”

Ada Hoffmann

Two books in a row that get a lot of use out of the word ‘heresy,’ that’s a bit of an odd coincidence.

I also quite enjoyed this. Midway through I texted a friend of mine that I could very clearly see one of the influences of this book—Nick Bostrom’s Superintelligence. I stand by that. It took a bit of hand-waving about the way AI works, but Hoffmann found a reasonable explanation for why AI would bother keeping humanity around. Frankly, it’s one of the good outcomes; sure, we’re basically cattle, but hey, at least we’re wagyu.

And that, right there, was what made the setting so fascinating. Humanity as the tame feedstock for the AIs, which went ahead and declared themselves Gods. (And, yes, they are referred to with the capital ‘G’ throughout.) They are the Gods, and they grant us useful technology like interstellar travel and clean energy, but we’re also kicked back to 1950s computer technology, because anything more modern gets too close to their turf. And that’s where the use of ‘heresy’ comes back into play.

It gets more interesting than that, but that’s also getting into spoiler territory, so I’ll stop there.

One other thing to note that I quite liked about the book was how well it fit in a diverse cast. The protagonist is neuroatypical, and her love interest is a woman—a fact which is, in fact, never remarked upon by anyone. To borrow a meme, this is the future liberals want.1

All in all, I found this to be quite a good read, and do recommend it. Check it out.2

  1. Another thing I’ll stand by. Seriously, go read Superintelligence – being feedstock, after our death, for the AIs is pretty close to the best-case scenario for humanity.
  2. This is a Bookshop affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I use Bookshop affiliate links instead of Amazon because they distribute a significant chunk of their profits to small, local book stores.
Categories
Playlist

Playlist of the Month: February 2022

In theory we’re approaching spring, but given that it snowed a few days ago, it doesn’t particularly feel like it.

How It Was – Yoste on A Few Brief Moments – EP

twentyfive – Yoste on twentyfive – Single

Oh Dear, Oh Beaux – beaux on A Love Letter To the Moments Spent Outside

All Eyes On Me – Bo Burnham on Inside (The Songs)

Body Heat – ItsLee & Vide on Body Heat – Single

Daniel – Will Young on Crying on the Bathroom Floor

The Wire – Vancouver Sleep Clinic on The Wire – Single

Only Human – Philip Ayers on Only Human – Single

Picture of You (feat. Hayden Calnin) – Axel Flóvent on Picture of You (feat. Hayden Calnin) – Single

Fall Creek Boys Choir – James Blake & Bon Iver on Enough Thunder – EP

Wisdom, Justice, And Love – Linkin Park on A Thousand Suns

Lonely City – Mokita on Lonely City – Single

u hurt me hurts u – Anson Seabra on Feeling For My Life

Perfect Teeth – Petey on Lean Into Life

Holy Ghost and Hallelujah – flora cash on Our Generation

Funeral – James Blake on Friends That Break Your Heart (Bonus)

What I Loved About You – Fyfe on Games

Sights Like These – Edwin Raphael on Sights Like These – Single

Sky High – Octavian on Sky High – Single

The Middle – Cal Trask & StayLoose on The Middle – Single

Fix You – Thorin Loeks on Fix You – Single

Lost Angel Nights – James Blake on Friends That Break Your Heart (Bonus)

The Bright Lights – flora cash on Our Generation

Their Superhero – Jack in Water & Alaskan Tapes on Their Superhero – Single

Pyralone – Jónsi on Obsidian

Lost in Space – Emmit Fenn on Lost in Space – Single

Graves – Aisha Badru on The Way Back Home – EP

How It Is – Majik on Under the Influence – EP

If I Die – Ed Prosek on If I Die – Single

Soul Mate – flora cash on Our Generation

Interiority – Fyfe & Iskra Strings on Interiority – Single

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait – Isak Danielson on Good Things Come To Those Who Wait – Single

I Miss You – Amber Run on I Miss You – Single

Untold – RY X on Unfurl

Liberation – BUZZ on Liberation – Single

Down (Acoustic Version) – Landon Austin on Down (Acoustic Version) [Acoustic Version] – Single

Your Love – The Outfield on Big Innings: The Best of the Outfield

nomore – Addict. & Rewind on nomore – Single

Operator – Fyfe on Games

Self Control – Frank Ocean on Blonde

Wrangelstrasse – The Irrepressibles on Superheroes (Deluxe Edition)

Burn – Juice WRLD on Fighting Demons (Lyric Video Version)

It’s Not U – King Henry on It’s Not U – Single

Roses – Teflon Sega on Roses – Single

Let Me Swim – Yoste on Let Me Swim – Single

Diner – Charles Fauna on Diner – Single

Chamomile – slenderbodies on Plastic Parts / Chamomile – Single

laisse moi entrer – La Femme Pendu on VAMPYR1

The Best Part of Life – SAINt JHN on The Best Part of Life – Single

Love Me Or Leave Me – Munn on Love Me Or Leave Me – Single

In Limbo – Munn on In Limbo – Single

F33l Lik3 Dyin – Playboi Carti on Whole Lotta Red

Her Revolution – Burial, Four Tet & Thom Yorke on Her Revolution / His Rope – Single

How To Save a Life (feat. Max Schneider) [Acoustic] – Tyler Ward on How To Save a Life (feat. Max Schneider) [Acoustic] – Single2

Sweet Home – SYML on Sweet Home – Single

Ride or Die – Hippo Campus on LP3

Blindsided – Landon Austin on Blindsided – Single

Go Hard 2.0 – Juice WRLD on Fighting Demons (Complete Edition)

Try To Forget – Tyler Ward on Try To Forget – Single

Brividi – Mahmood & BLANCO on Brividi – Single

I’ll Look After You (feat. Haux) – Luno on I’ll Look After You (feat. Haux) – Single

Moviestar – Addict., Rewind & Diego R. on Moviestar – Single

The Chase – Emmit Fenn on The Chase – Single

Dreamer – Hayden Calnin on Dreamer – Single

Cigarettes – Juice WRLD on Cigarettes – Single

A Giant’s Chair – Jack in Water on You Once Were Home – EP

Something Just Like This – The Chainsmokers & Coldplay on Something Just Like This

You Found Me – The Fray on The Fray

Real – Majik on NOON // 2153

You – Emmit Fenn on You – Single

You You You – GERD on In It To Lose – EP

Say What You Will – James Blake on Friends That Break Your Heart (Bonus)

Don’t Look Back – EMBRZ on Don’t Look Back

Funeral – James Blake & slowthai on Friends That Break Your Heart (Bonus)4

Deletia (feat. Mysie) – Fyfe & Iskra Strings on Deletia (feat. Mysie) – Single

You (feat. Tusks) – Axel Flóvent on You (feat. Tusks) – Single

Saab 900 – Big Kill on Big Kill Future

Made of Stars – DJ Taz Rashid on Be the Change

4r Da Squaw – Isaiah Rashad on The Sun’s Tirade

The Freshmen – The Verve Pipe on Villains

  1. I just really love Allison Scagliotti, okay?
  2. Apple Music recommended this, and then I wound up listening to The Fray’s entire first album and realizing that there’s only like two tracks on there that I don’t know by heart.
  3. I miss Majik…
  4. Kinda fun having both versions of Funeral on this playlist, it’s a bit like a ‘drop the needle’ quiz.
Categories
Review

“Ninefox Gambit”

Yoon Ha Lee

I post many book reviews here, but one thing that I tend not to mention, is that I don’t actually review every book I read. If I give up on the book—in disgust, in boredom, for whatever reason—I won’t review it. If I make it through the whole book, sit down to write my thoughts, and can’t come up with a single positive note, I won’t review it. (There’s already enough negativity in the world, I’m not going to add to it.)

As a natural result of that, there’s a solid amount of very generic science fiction that I don’t post reviews of. Stuff that’s… fine. Uninspiring, cliche, trite, but not offensively bad.

“Ninefox Gambit” stands out because it is none of those things. It is unabashedly strange, gloriously new. Disconcerting and disquieting. It actually took me quite a while to be certain that all the characters are human—and, later, to determine that they’re not just pan-human, but human human, and the different classifications are a matter of culture.

In short, I absolutely loved this book. For all that I want to rave about the fascinating setting, the technological backdrop underpinning everything, I won’t, because a good part of the fun was in figuring out what, exactly, all of that was. Please, get a copy of the book, set aside some time to read, and lose yourself in this masterpiece.1

  1. This is an Amazon affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I prefer Bookshop affiliate links to Amazon when possible, but in this case, the book wasn’t available there, so it’ll have to do.
Categories
Review

“Beyond the Rift”

Peter Watts

I had this book down as science fiction, and while that’s true, I don’t think that’s really the primary genre. It’s an anthology of horror sub-genres — there’s some body horror, a bit of existential dread, some psychological horror. Really runs the whole gamut! Frankly, if I’d realized it was going to be this creepy/bleak/depressing, I don’t know that I would’ve picked it up, but I’m glad I did. For all the gloom, it’s also captivating, and very well-written.

“The Island” was my favorite of the stories. Given the setting, it seems like something I’d love — more of that gigantic infrastructure, a road crew building a highway but for a civilization a couple of notches up the Kardashev scale from us. But for all that mind-boggling technology, I pictured it all as very dark; the aesthetic I imagined for the ship would fit just as well in a Diablo game as it does in this story. And the scary part of it is the sheer scale of time that passes, has passed, and will continue to pass.

“A Word for Heathens” was the most interesting concept, I think, although “The Things” is also a strong contender. I was a bit biased against the latter, as I haven’t seen the film it’s based on; if you have, you’ll probably like it more.

“Home” definitely wins the award for Most Horror; something about the body horror/creeping change over time really gets to me. Vaguely similar vibes to The Enigma of Amigara Fault. Or possibly that’s just my go-to for body horror? Cronenberg, you have been unseated.

“A Niche” hits on some of the same imagery, and thinking back, I believe they’re actually a shared universe. Which works… pretty well, overall. As does putting “Home” before “A Niche” — it predisposes you to think about that aspect of what’s creepy about it, and that’s really not where “A Niche” is going.

All in all, I absolutely loved this. My only regret is reading it at night because I suspect I’m going to have a rough time trying to get to sleep after this. Whoops.

So, if you want some gloomy (but surprisingly not doom-y) science fiction, give it a go.1

  1. This is a Bookshop affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I use Bookshop affiliate links instead of Amazon because they distribute a significant chunk of their profits to small, local book stores.
Categories
Review

“The Chiral Conspiracy”

L.L. Richmond

Starting off with an infodump is a bit aggressive, but as I was looking up the author’s name, I realized that this is a novella in part of a larger series, so it makes a bit more sense. Less of a Star Wars scroll, more of a “previously on…” vibe to it, with that context.

That said, I really like the setting here. Just enough hand waving to the science fiction that I don’t get too caught up in it, but also some great details — like, at one point, the fact that a space station doesn’t have the advantage of a natural magnetosphere becomes very important. I quite like stuff like that — because, if you’re gonna give me big things happening in space, I want some acknowledgement of the sort of infrastructure work that makes all that possible.

Beyond that, this is a nice… not quite detective story, though it’s inspired by those. ‘Military thriller’ would be the other key influence/genre. The existence of NCIS says that there’s a solid market for that crossover, and this delivered quite well. Give it a read.1

  1. This is a Bookshop affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I use Bookshop affiliate links instead of Amazon because they distribute a significant chunk of their profits to small, local book stores.
Categories
Review

“Annihilation Aria”

Michael R. Underwood

This was a very fun read. I’m skimming the acknowledgements as I start to write this, and the author says that the inspiration for Annihilation Aria was “what would it look like to try to write something that made me feel the way the Guardians of the Galaxy movie did?” In my opinion, Underwood achieved that—big galaxy, lots of different species each doing their own thing, and some truly epic scaled Big Bads. And, of course, a single human who stumbled into it all, trying to make his way through.

Where this is better than Guardians is that character: instead of Peter Quill’s constant posturing and hamming it up, Max is a scholar, a nerd, and… secure in his masculinity. He makes an excellent foil for Lahra, who’s something akin to a warrior princess from a lost tribe; where Quill would likely default to insecurity and trying to feign warrior prowess to match, Max is quite happy to let her shine, and be the expert in his own domain. The two of them have a very positive relationship, and it was genuinely delightful to read—seeing healthy interactions like that isn’t nearly as common as it should be, and I’m all in favor of good role models.

The actual plot is quite fun, as well. Somewhere between Indiana Jones and Stargate Atlantis, and the combination feels very cinematic. I’d love to see a movie adaptation of this, although the special effects budget would have to be on par with the latest Star Wars film.

All in all, this was a great read. I highly recommend it—check it out.1

  1. This is a Bookshop affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I use Bookshop affiliate links instead of Amazon because they distribute a significant chunk of their profits to small, local book stores.
Categories
Playlist

Playlist of the Month: January 2022

Definitely didn’t write 2021 in the year there at first. Nope. Not at all.

How It Was – Yoste on A Few Brief Moments – EP

twentyfive – Yoste on twentyfive – Single

Oh Dear, Oh Beaux – beaux on A Love Letter To the Moments Spent Outside

All Eyes On Me – Bo Burnham on Inside (The Songs)

Politicians – Hayden Calnin on Politicians – Single

In This Shirt (Original) – The Irrepressibles on In This Shirt – Single

Body Heat – ItsLee & Vide on Body Heat – Single

Daniel – Will Young on Crying on the Bathroom Floor

Broken (Live at Södra Teatern) – Isak Danielson on Live in Stockholm – EP

We Go On Walks – Petey on Lean Into Life

The Wire – Vancouver Sleep Clinic on The Wire – Single

Righteous – Juice WRLD on Legends Never Die

Only Human – Philip Ayers on Only Human – Single

Should Have Gone Over – Jolé & Christof Van Der Ven on Great Parade – EP

Picture of You (feat. Hayden Calnin) – Axel Flóvent on Picture of You (feat. Hayden Calnin) – Single

False Hope – Cal Trask on False Hope – Single

Somebody Who Knows You – X Ambassadors on The Beautiful Liar

One Right Now – Post Malone & The Weeknd on One Right Now – Single

Fall Creek Boys Choir – James Blake & Bon Iver on Enough Thunder – EP

Moth To A Flame – Swedish House Mafia & The Weeknd on Moth To A Flame – Single

Wisdom, Justice, And Love – Linkin Park on A Thousand Suns

Lonely City – Mokita on Lonely City – Single

Take Me Apart (Recorded at St. Mark’s Cathedral) – SYML on Sacred Spaces

The Most Beautiful Boy (Strong Outside a Man But Inside a Boy) – The Irrepressibles on Superheroes (Deluxe Edition)

UNWELL – Enrique Iglesias on FINAL (Vol.1)

u hurt me hurts u – Anson Seabra on Feeling For My Life

Killer – CHVRCHES on Screen Violence: Director’s Cut

Perfect Teeth – Petey on Lean Into Life

B******t – X Ambassadors on The Beautiful Liar

Hollow – Emmit Fenn & Shallou on Hollow – Single

Wish You Well – Forester on Wish You Well – EP

Holy Ghost and Hallelujah – flora cash on Our Generation

colorblind (acoustic) – Mokita on colorblind (acoustic) – Single

Palo Santo – X Ambassadors on The Beautiful Liar

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore – Anson Seabra on Feeling For My Life

Around the World / Harder Better Faster Stronger (Live) – Daft Punk on Alive 2007 (Live) [Deluxe Edition]

Funeral – James Blake on Friends That Break Your Heart (Bonus)

Touch It / Technologic (Live) – Daft Punk on Alive 2007 (Live) [Deluxe Edition]

What I Loved About You – Fyfe on Games

Sights Like These – Edwin Raphael on Sights Like These – Single

Silence (feat. Khalid) – Marshmello on Silence (feat. Khalid) – Single

Paper Trails – DARKSIDE on Psychic

Here – Shallou on The Long Way Home – EP

Corners – Shallou on The Long Way Home – EP

In My Heart – Moby on 18 & 18 B-Sides

Sky High – Octavian on Sky High – Single

Open Hearts – HAEVN & Birdy on Open Hearts – Single

The Middle – Cal Trask & StayLoose on The Middle – Single

Under the Wild Sea – REUNIØN on Under the Wild Sea – Single

Fix You – Thorin Loeks on Fix You – Single1

Lost Angel Nights – James Blake on Friends That Break Your Heart (Bonus)

Anxiety. – JVKE on Anxiety. – Single

Your Eyes – APRE on Your Eyes – Single

Beat Of My Drum – Fyfe on Games

Another year like that and we’d all be dead – FLØRE on ROMANIAC – EP

The Bright Lights – flora cash on Our Generation

Their Superhero – Jack in Water & Alaskan Tapes on Their Superhero – Single

Pyralone – Jónsi on Obsidian2

Lost in Space – Emmit Fenn on Lost in Space – Single

Graves – Aisha Badru on The Way Back Home – EP

When I Was Young – flora cash on Our Generation

Too Close – Daniel Allan & bloody white on Too Close – Single

Lucky Charms – Anson Seabra on Feeling For My Life

How It Is – Majik on Under the Influence – EP3

Friends (Under the Influence) – Majik on Paralysed / Friends (Under the Influence) – Single

If I Die – Ed Prosek on If I Die – Single4

Thirsty – Trevor Daniel on That Was Then

Another F*****g Year and I Went Nowhere – latency & Andy HD on Another F*****g Year and I Went Nowhere – Single

Sacrifice – The Weeknd on Dawn FM

The Box – Roddy Ricch on Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial

Veridis Quo – Daft Punk on Discovery

Paradise (feat. Dermot Kennedy) – Meduza on Paradise (feat. Dermot Kennedy) – Single

Starry Eyes – The Weeknd on Dawn FM

Come Close – Anson Seabra on Come Close – Single

Love Goes (On & On) [feat. H. Kenneth] – Dubdogz & TEN TONNE SKELETON on Love Goes (On & On) [feat. H. Kenneth] – Single

Soul Mate – flora cash on Our Generation5

Interiority – Fyfe & Iskra Strings on Interiority – Single

The Village – Wrabel on The Village – Single

How Do I Make You Love Me? – The Weeknd on Dawn FM

Undeniable (feat. X Ambassadors) – Kygo on Undeniable (feat. X Ambassadors) – Single

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait – Isak Danielson on Good Things Come To Those Who Wait – Single

I Miss You – Amber Run on I Miss You – Single

Gone By the Morning – Munn on Gone By the Morning – Single

Signals – Regard & Kwabs on Signals – Single

Only a Lifetime – FINNEAS on Optimist

Untold – RY X on Unfurl

Liberation – BUZZ on Liberation – Single

Down (Acoustic Version) – Landon Austin on Down (Acoustic Version) [Acoustic Version] – Single

Human – Ross Copperman on Human – Single

Not Enough – Juice WRLD on Fighting Demons (Lyric Video Version)

Your Love – The Outfield on Big Innings: The Best of the Outfield6

Don’t Break My Heart – The Weeknd on Dawn FM

Dadada – Trevor Daniel on That Was Then

nomore – Addict. & Rewind on nomore – Single

Operator – Fyfe on Games

Self Control – Frank Ocean on Blonde

All the Things We’ve Never Done – Portair on The Ice That Breaks – EP

Wrangelstrasse – The Irrepressibles on Superheroes (Deluxe Edition)

Time Machine – flora cash on Our Generation

Burn – Juice WRLD on Fighting Demons (Lyric Video Version)7

SAPORE (feat. Tedua) – Fedez on DISUMANO

It’s Not U – King Henry on It’s Not U – Single

Roses – Teflon Sega on Roses – Single

  1. This cover hits surprisingly hard – “Lights will guide you home/and ignite your bones/and I will try to fix me” is such a small change, but wow does it change the song.
  2. Jónsi’s music remains simultaneously wonderful and achingly lonely
  3. God I miss Majik.
  4. I like this song, but I can’t read the name without my mind immediately going to “If I Die Young” instead.
  5. It’s taken me a while to listen this whole album, but it’s excellent!
  6. Listen, sometimes you just have to blast some music from your childhood and sing along at the top of your lungs.
  7. If it weren’t for the Fix You cover, this might win for “most sing-along-able” song this month.
Categories
Review

“A Fall in Autumn”

Michael G. Williams

One of the reviews I saw for this book called it something along the lines of “a private eye novel without all the toxic masculinity,” and that’s what sold me on reading it. What kept me reading, though, was the absolutely wonderful world building. It’s thousands of years in the future, and there are passing references to legends of space travel, and references to the collapse of our current civilization, lost knowledge of the ancients, all that. But the single line that most sold me on the whole thing was a passing reference to “Arthur Kennedy and the betrayal of Camelot”. Given a couple thousand years, even with written history, it absolutely makes sense that two legendary figures would get merged together.

I really enjoy things like this; I like science fiction where a lot of different things have happened, with one Big Deal technological change that gives us all sorts of implications to explore. If I had to track it down in this one, I’d say there were two things: CRISPR allowing for genetic modification, and a nuclear war that was small enough not to cause nuclear winter, but large enough to EMP everything digital to oblivion.

All in all, this was an excellent read, and I highly recommend it. Check it out.1

  1. This is a Bookshop affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I use Bookshop affiliate links instead of Amazon because they distribute a significant chunk of their profits to small, local book stores.
Categories
Review

“Two Suns at Sunset”

Gene Doucette

I really, truly, had no idea what I was in for with this book. And I absolutely loved it — devoured the whole thing in an evening, and promptly added the sequel to my wish list. I desperately want to know where the whole series is going, because it’s a wonderful mystery.

The setting feels near-feature, and has some things that are very clearly influenced by what’s going on in current events.1 Except for the whole “this isn’t Earth” thing, which combines with some of the linguistics and a few mentions of a distant-past Collapse, to have me think that it’s actually far-future, and we’re looking at a colony that’s building itself back up towards interstellar travel after a galactic-scale human civilization… well, collapsed. Which means that the founding mythology, and some of the hand-wavey end of the world prophecy stuff going on could, in fact, be leading up to some large-scale science fiction things. Hey, look at that, we’ve looped back around to “I desperately want to know where the whole series is going,” how about that.

Sitting on top of this wonderfully rich setting, though, is a very fun police procedural/murder mystery thing, and that is also a delight. A murdered monk, a cynical cop, his new upbeat rookie partner, it’s a hodgepodge of well-worn tropes and new twists, and it works so very, very well.

If any of this sounds interesting, please read the book — I greatly enjoyed it, and hope you will as well.2

  1. There’s a two-page interjection explaining a cryptocurrency that’s Definitely Not Bitcoin. To my knowledge, it’s fairly accurate, and highlights one of the key potential failings of the technology, while leaving out the primary failing of it. That said, this world apparently has nuclear power pretty figured out, which mitigates the energy concerns, so, I’ll allow it.
  2. This is a Bookshop affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I use Bookshop affiliate links instead of Amazon because they distribute a significant chunk of their profits to small, local book stores.
Categories
Review

“When You Had Power”

Susan Kaye Quinn

The author bills this book as ‘hopepunk,’ but the term I’m more familiar with is ‘solarpunk.’ Either works, though — the vibe is that of a hopeful future, where we make our way through the energy transition and wind up not, y’know, climate changing ourselves into extinction. Which is a future I sincerely hope we wind up in, because I like not being extinct!

To put it shortly, I adore the setting of this book. It’s near-future, with technology that all feels very believable for a near future, and a very fitting backdrop of the global energy transition. And I’m always here for a found-family story — Tamora Pierce really established that archetype for me with the Circle of Magic, so I can’t help but love it.

The only failing of this book is that it isn’t finished. We see the B plot through, but the A plot is left entirely hanging, and having just skimmed over the descriptions of the other books in the series, it looks like that thread won’t get tied up until the fourth book, which is due for release nearly a year from now. I want to know what the bad guys are up to! I’m not nearly patient enough for this.

If you, like me, are impatient, wait until September 2022, then read all four books at once. If you’d like to get started now, go check it out.1

  1. This is an Amazon affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I prefer Bookshop affiliate links to Amazon when possible, but in this case, the book wasn’t available there, so it’ll have to do.
Categories
Review

“The Hammer Falls”

Travis Heermann

I’m of mixed feelings about this book. It’s a fun setting — a little post-apocalyptic in places, but mostly it’s that ‘megacorporation rule’ that feels closer to cyberpunk than any other genre. And while I hate that as a possible future, I do think that this book handled it better than I could’ve expected, so that’s a positive.

But then the negatives: the protagonist is only occasionally likable, and the way women are treated feels almost like someone set out to deliberately flunk the Bechdel Test. Arguably, that’s on purpose, as it’s in keeping with the way said occasionally likable protagonist would think, and it’s told from his perspective, but it still grates somewhat.

In the end, though, I made it to the end of the book, which is the main test I have.1 If you’re interested, you can learn more about the book here. 2

  1. Somewhere, I have a graveyard of books I started and didn’t finish; I’m stubborn, but I won’t force my way through a book if it’s just not enjoyable. Life’s too short for that.
  2. This is a Bookshop affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I use Bookshop affiliate links instead of Amazon because they distribute a significant chunk of their profits to small, local book stores.