I, we, consume stories. Not just in the form of books, films or TV shows, but also in podcasts and in webcomics. The stories may be fictional or non-fictional (think documentaries), and can be slice-of-life or have wider story arcs and development. What matters, is that there is storytelling.
I’m a latecomer to podcasts, starting with (as with many others!) the excellent first season of Serial. I dabbled in some true crime podcasts after that, though I find them kind of unhealthy lol, and branched out a little.
These days, I enjoy single-episode stories such as Reply All. I’d also randomly catch an episode from The Journal, which you could say are collections of news stories. Hmm, are news a form of storytelling?
But it was only this year that I listened to a fiction podcast for the first time. Other than that, I read a little, but mostly the stories that I took in were in comic form.
And so, some stories I enjoyed this quarter.
- Sweet Bobby from Tortoise Media
A years-long catfishing operation. You know that something’s off with Bobby, but it’s still a surprise as it unravels.
- Sandra from Gimlet Media
The voices are SO GOOD, I have no issue with the star power recruited for this. This was my first fiction podcast, easy to get into because of short episodes (too short!), and only 7 of them. We peek into the inner workings of an AI assistant, Sandra, (you’ll think of Siri, Alexa, Cortana), which as it is revealed won’t feel that implausible. The charms of Sandra is glimpsed through the eyes of a weary young woman who just wants to move on in her life.
Bobwhite by Magnolia Porter
Art and design school shenanigans. But also, closet geeks, chronic procrastinators, and disastrous college relationships. Very slice-of-life but without shying away from story arcs and letting characters be more complex. I can’t help thinking that I’ve identified with the main cast many times, and yet they aren’t the best people – but also that they aren’t supposed to be.
[un]Divine by Ayme Sotuyo
Demons. Or just the one? A mysterious religious institute is more than it seems. There is intrigue and unclear motives, sometimes diverted by the lovely colouring – blue skies, Esther’s sunset-coloured hair. I actually read this over two months, finding it something of a slow burn. But when it hits, it hits. (It is on something of a hiatus now.)
Not a webcomic
The story “Losing” from Allie Brosh’s book “Solutions and Other Problems“
A surprising story which I thought was about existentialism and confronting your mortality, but was really (or, was additionally) about grief. Allie’s blog Hyperbole and a Half may be known as the origin of the “all the things” meme, but I’ve always been attached to her absurd yet relatable comic of the indignity of depression. (Also thanks for the lend Kat, I need to return this to you!)
Circus Windows by John Allison
Somehow, I completely missed this story when it ran last year. As a Bad Machinery fan, I greatly missed the gang and it was nice to slip into Lottie’s mystery-solving shoes again. Warning: Clowns.
A re-read Bad Machinery’s “The Case of the Good Boy” by John Allison
This feels early in the Bad Machinery lore as everyone is so young – Jack is a victim of bullying, there is a fight over a pencil, and Mildred just really wants a dog.
- The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang
This was a book club pick last year for Read Like A Feminist, though I skipped it at the time. Once I got into it, it felt like I was on a ride for a true epic. It starts out like a military version of Hogwarts, but then you’re fast-forwarded to a tale of brutal war decisions and devastating revelations. I’ve finished it and started on the second in the trilogy, The Dragon Republic, but I have not liked it as much and have only been reading it on and off.
TV and Films
Everything Everywhere All at Once
I watched this only a week ago, and I still cannot quite say what I liked about it, but I know that I do. I loled when Alpha Waymond tells Evelyn, nicely but unmindful, that she is the Evelyn that “never became good at anything”. And chills from our first five minutes with Jobu Tupaki – that presence. Also, Stephanie Hsu didn’t have a Wikipedia page last week, but now she does!
Turning Red and Encanto
Friends, you don’t need to relate 100% to enjoy a story. Also, man, these stories of intergenerational trauma have the best facial expressions (Turning Red) and songs (Encanto).
I was surprised that I liked this, my first DCEU undertaking since Wonder Woman (which I hated) and without having watched either of the Suicide Squad movies. The banter is fun, and that title sequence is addictive AF. Violent; I avert my eyes when people are killed. There is too much Vigilante reader-insert fiction on Tumblr – this is my cry for help, my dudes he is a sociopath okay. Lastly, as of writing, Annie Chang still does not have a Wikipedia page! >:(