For Flux sake! — My review of Doctor Who: Flux

Promotional poster for Doctor Who Flux featuring from left to right: John Bishop, Jodie Whittaker and Mandip Gill.

Chris Chibnall, current showrunner of Doctor Who, opted to make the most recent series of the show a single story split into six parts. It was a decision I still admire; I’ll always appreciate efforts to try something different with the show. However, the season’s conclusion failed to deliver on all the promise of its early parts.

As I have so many thoughts, I decided I’d post them here. Consider this my first TV review on this blog.

Whilst I don’t spoil everything from the series in this review, there are some big things I either explicitly mention or hint at. I couldn’t really give my full opinion without some major spoilers. So if you’re not caught up, I’d recommend giving this review a miss. This is your one and only spoiler warning.

Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor says "Spoilers"

Also, I hope it goes without saying, but if you disagree with me and thoroughly enjoyed the series then that’s great. I sincerely love that for you. I’m happy to let you enjoy things if you’re content to let me not enjoy things. 

Continue reading “For Flux sake! — My review of Doctor Who: Flux”

Sunday Sharing #9: How to create an author press kit, an AI advent calendar, when you stop feelings things and more

The AI Weirdness Advent Calendar 2021. Open the doors on the AI Weirdness website.

The penultimate Sunday Sharing of the year before I switch my focus to some end-of-year reflective posts and make plans for what my blog will look like in 2022.

Whilst I have started a new draft for a fiction piece, most of this week’s writing can be viewed on my blog. This includes three poems I wrote and a piece on my relationship with music. My fourth newsletter also went out earlier this week.

For this reason, I’ve decided to just share a list of 10 things I’ve read from around the web this week. And I read quite a number of things, so narrowing down this list to 10 was hard. But here’s what I settled on:

  1. From Sam Missingham‘s latest edition of The Empowered Author newsletter: this excellent guide on creating an author press kit from Susan Neal. | Author Media
  1. The same excellent newsletter directed me to John Wiswell’s invaluable Twitter thread on how he submits short stories. The Nebula-winning author has also compiled this thread into an easy-to-read blog post on his Patreon. | Twitter
  1. Hussein Kesvani relaunched his newsletter last month with a new title: The Draft Folder. I think his piece on “Why Productivity and Motivation #Content Is A Political Project Too” is very much worth a read. | Substack
Continue reading “Sunday Sharing #9: How to create an author press kit, an AI advent calendar, when you stop feelings things and more”

Why I didn’t share my Spotify Wrapped

Spotify logo overlaid with a read seal that says: TOP SECRET CLASSIFIED.

I’ve always been more of a lurker than a poster, and that didn’t change when Spotify Wrapped dropped earlier this week. I’ve loved seeing people share the highlights from their year in music, even noting a few songs to check out for myself. But you won’t catch me sharing my Spotify Wrapped.

My current relationship with music feels different to the relationship other people appear to have with their favourite songs. I’ve become quite private about what music I listen to.

I’ve often wondered why I feel this way, so I took to my journal to free-write about it in the hopes of coming up with some answers. There are four reasons I came up with to explain my relationship with music, which I thought would be fun to discuss in a blog post. 

So here’s why I didn’t share my Spotify Wrapped…

Continue reading “Why I didn’t share my Spotify Wrapped”

Three poems I wrote this month

Poem titled Falling for Fire written on an old parchment background with a shaded outline of a flame beside the stanzas.

Falling for Fire

When I fell for the fire,
I knew I’d get burned.
A desire destined for ash
or a scar if it spurned.
So I settled for sitting beside it,
a mere shadow in its glow.
I’ll confess to the embers
so that the flames never know.
But another came for the warmth.
All turned to smoke, and l went cold.
Snatched my light and left me cinders,
now they have the fire I was afraid to hold.
Continue reading “Three poems I wrote this month”

Sunday Sharing #8: Starting a new journal, Promising Young Woman, four short games about pain and more

Dressed as a nurse in this shot is Carey Mulligan as Cassie Thomas, the protagonist of the film Promising Young Woman

As I mentioned in last week’s Sunday Sharing, this probably won’t be a weekly fixture come next year. My plan is to continue these posts for another two weeks and then call it quits for a while to focus on some end of year posts, such as my favourite books of the year. Then I’ll make my final decision towards the end of December about the direction I wish to take this blog in 2022.

In the meantime, here’s what my week looked like. Like every week, you can find a list of 10 things I read/viewed on the web I wanted to share.

Continue reading “Sunday Sharing #8: Starting a new journal, Promising Young Woman, four short games about pain and more”

From Zhōngguó and Sierra Leone to the village of Assington: How do places get their name?

Road sign directing drivers towards Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

You may have seen that I’ve been outlining fictional maps for fun. This interest in creating fictional worlds has also got me thinking about how places get their name.

Usually, I’ve named locations based on what sounded good or right at the time. Quite often they have a thematic connection to what I’m working on, a distortion of a placename that already exists or is a joke (or a mix of the three).

But I decided to do some research and learn about how real places acquire their names. I thought it would help make more informed choices about the fictional worlds I’m inventing.

Predominantly I’ve looked at country names. But stick around until the end where I look at the origins of places with funny names, like the village Assington.

Continue reading “From Zhōngguó and Sierra Leone to the village of Assington: How do places get their name?”

Sunday Sharing #7: Rewilding your attention, artificial loneliness, why Taylor Swift is the perfect vehicle for talking about books and more

A cowboy rides along the rails and looks out onto the near desolate fictional state of New Austin in Red Dead Redemption 2. Screenshot from Jacob Geller’s video “Artificial Loneliness.”

There’s little to share on my end this week. The past seven days were filled with exciting ideas and plans but very little action. However, if those plans develop like I hope they will then I’ll have a wealth of things to write about in the near future.

One idea I’m entertaining is moving these weekly logs to a monthly basis so that the posts are meatier and more consistent in the volume of content. I’m also considering increasing the frequency of my newsletter. A definitive decision probably won’t be made until the new year, so stay tuned.

For now, though, here are 10 things from around the web I read/viewed that I felt were worth sharing…

Continue reading “Sunday Sharing #7: Rewilding your attention, artificial loneliness, why Taylor Swift is the perfect vehicle for talking about books and more”

A letter to Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden, protagonist from the anime of the same name, stands in front of a background of numerous unopened envelopes floating around her.

Dear Violet Evergarden,

You have reawakened my longing to pen letters. So I thought I would write one to you.

I do not know war or the scars combat leaves. Your trauma is not the kind of trauma I know. I do not — and probably never will — burn like you. Only you know the inferno. But I have been touched by fire, although never engulfed by flames. But still, I wanted to say thank you. Thank you for demonstrating that none of us is defined by our burns. We do not end where the fire begins.

Continue reading “A letter to Violet Evergarden”

Sunday Sharing #6: Drawing fictional maps, surviving the world through fictional disasters, Violet Evergarden and more

This week, the end of my day job’s fixed-term contract was brought forward by two weeks, once again leaving me unemployed. I’m okay, though. My future job prospects are positive. However, it does mean that I’ve spent more time working on my CV and attempting to set up a portfolio site, which hasn’t left me much time or energy to be creative.

So here’s what I have to share from my week, including what I have managed to write, read and watch. And then finishing up with a list of 10 things with links to stuff I’ve read/listened to from around the web.

Continue reading “Sunday Sharing #6: Drawing fictional maps, surviving the world through fictional disasters, Violet Evergarden and more”

Sunday Sharing #5: We All Hear Stories in the Dark, The End of Evangelion, The Nightmare Artist and more

Me holding the Limited Edition hardback collection of Robert Shearman’s 3-volume We All Hear Stories in the Dark

Trying something slightly different for this week’s Sunday Sharing. This post will be longer than October’s lists of 10 things, but if all you want is a list of reading/viewing recommendations then you can skip to the bottom.

Currently, these weekly sharing posts are experiments for me. I want to establish a regular writing habit that has something of value to whoever reads it. I enjoy the lists of 10 format, but I thought I’d revisit the structure of my first newsletter. Whilst I felt it was too long for an email, I figured it might work well for a blog post.

Plus, it would function as a weekly log of my work, which means I’ll actually have to work in order to log it.

As with the last format, it’s subject to change. This is an experiment for me to work out the best way to use this blog. Some might argue it would have been better to work it all out in advance, but I find it’s often difficult to see what’s shit and what’s gold until it’s in front of you. You have to try making something before you can judge if it’s a broken mess.

Continue reading “Sunday Sharing #5: We All Hear Stories in the Dark, The End of Evangelion, The Nightmare Artist and more”