So what happened in May? Not a whole lot, but you know what? There’s not a whole lot that’s wrong with that.
I read thirty-five short stories, saw eight movies, and I somehow managed to read four books — five, actually, if you count a four-issue graphic novel. (And ignore the fact that the others were very short novels.) I even listened to a little music.
It wasn’t too bad. Even our team’s move into the lonely, dark downstairs office at work couldn’t put a damper on a pretty decent month.
I read thirty-five short stories in May, beyond those I was still reading for Kaleidotrope. I figured I needed to make up for the three days I accidentally skipped in April. My personal favorites — and there were actually quite a lot of them — were as follows:
- “The Men from Narrow Houses” by A.C. Wise (Liminal Stories)
- “All the Colors You Thought Were Kings” by Arkady Martine (Shimmer)
- “You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay” by Alyssa Wong (Uncanny)
- “Ye Highlands and Ye Lowlands” by Seanan McGuire (Uncanny)
- “Three Points Masculine” by An Owomoyela (Lightspeed)
- “.subroutine:all///end” by Rachael Acks (Shimmer)
- “The Behemoth Beaches” by Maggie Slater (Apex)
- “Deathlight” by Mari Ness (Lightspeed)
- “The Jaws That Bite, The Claws That Catch” by Seanan McGuire (Lightspeed)
- “The Sound of Salt and Sea” by Kat Howard (Uncanny)
- “Left the Century to Sit Unmoved” by Sarah Pinsker (Strange Horizons)
- “You Can’t See It ‘Til It’s Finished” by Joseph Allen Hill (Liminal Stories)
- “The Right Sort of Monsters” by Kelly Sandoval (Strange Horizons)
- “When She Was Five” by Fraser Ronald (Fantastic Stories of the Imagination)
- “Team Invasion” by David Tallerma (Liminal Stories)
- “The Signal Birds” by Octavia Cade (Liminal Stories)
- “Suicide Bots” by Bentley A. Reese (Shimmer)
- “Once I, Rose” by A. Merc Rustad (Daily Science Fiction)
- “Furnace” by Livia Llewellyn (Weird Fiction Review — reprinted)
- “Through Earth and Sky” by Gwendolyn Kiste (Bracken)
- “Wednesday’s Story” by Wole Talabi (Lightspeed)
- “The Blood That Pulses in the Veins of One” by JY Yang (Uncanny)
Liminal Stories is definitely a new publication to watch, and I really like what they’re doing so far. But lots of my regular haunts had extremely good issues, Uncanny especially. Honestly, of the thirteen other short stories I read last month, only a couple of them are what I’d call duds. And we don’t talk about those.
I read five books, but with the possible exception of Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead, which has a lot of lovely things to say about a lot of things, I can’t claim to have really loved any of them.
Doris Lessing’s The Fifth Child has its moments, as does Siri Hustvedt’s The Summer Without Men, but both are too slight and under-developed to really be satisfying. Hustvedt’s book maybe has more interesting things to say, ultimately —
— but that’s in part because it reads more like a patchwork of essays than a novel.
Aaron Williams and Fiona Staples’ graphic novel — and that’s generous, given how sloppily it hangs together, but also given how incomplete it is — also has its moments. And Staples’ art, which I’ve enjoyed so much in Saga, is often stunning. But yeah, it’s kind of a malformed story that was obviously cut short after four issues by the publisher.
But even that was better than Benjamin Black’s The Lemur, which was such a disappointing non-starter of a non-story. It’s less a whodunit than a whocaresit.
- The Invitation
"The Invitation" is really good at building tension. But at the end of the day, tension isn't a house you can live in.
— Fred Coppersmith (@unrealfred) May 8, 2016
- Captain America: Civil War
People tried to tell me Civil War was the greatest movie ever, or secretly the worst, but I think it was just a decent one.
— Fred Coppersmith (@unrealfred) May 9, 2016
I'm more than a little tired of the masked home invaders movie, but Hush, while not brilliant, has a genuinely clever hook and good tension.
— Fred Coppersmith (@unrealfred) May 15, 2016
- The Five Deadly Venoms:
The Five Deadly Venoms is kind of a deeply silly movie.
— Fred Coppersmith (@unrealfred) May 15, 2016
- The Witch:
"The Witch" is a deeply upsetting and unsettling film.
— Fred Coppersmith (@unrealfred) May 22, 2016
1408 starts unpromisingly but gets better when Cusack actually goes into the room. Pity it doesn't stay better.
— Fred Coppersmith (@unrealfred) May 29, 2016
- X-Men: Apocalypse:
The more I think and tweet about it, the more I really like X-Men: Apocalypse. Which is weird for a movie that bored and annoyed me so much.
— Fred Coppersmith (@unrealfred) June 1, 2016
I don't know if Marnie is Hitchcock's worst film but it's easily the worst of his I've ever seen.
— Fred Coppersmith (@unrealfred) May 31, 2016
My monthly playlist was actually quite short in May, for whatever reason. Still, you’re free to listen to some of the songs I enjoyed listening to last month: