As usual, it’s hard to believe the two months are finished already. Thanks to Carl for hosting once more. It’s always great fun! Here’s a recap of my RIP-ing.
Peril of the Short Story:
- Two tales in MOONSHOT, edited by Hope Nicholson for AH Comics (Alternative History): “The Qallupiluk: Forgiven” which was originally published in Ajjiit: Dark Dreams of the Ancient Arctic (Inhabit Media, 2011). With narrative by by Seon and Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley and illustrations by Menton J. Matthews III. And “Tlicho Nàowo”, a story about the ‘Night the Spirits Return. Written by Richard Van Camp (with Mahsi cho to Rosa Mantla) and illustrated by Nicholas Burns.
- Also Ladies of Fantasy: Two Centuries of Sinister Stories by the Gentle Sex. Stories are selected by Seon Manley and Gogo Lewis, including works by E. Nesbit, Joan Aiken, Mary Elizabeth Counselman, Dorothy Salisbury Davis, Grazia Deleddo, Madame Blavatsky, Jane Roberts, Grena J. Bennett, C.L. Moore and Lady Eleanor Smith.
- Tom Hammock’s Will O’ the Wisp, which comprises the first volume of the Aurora Grimeon series, illustrated by Megan Hutchison, which contains six installments.
- And Rui Umezawa’s Strange Light Afar, illustrated by Mikiko Fujita. Tales of the Supernatural from Old Japan. Contains: “Snow”, “Trickster”, “Honor”, “Evvy”, “Captive”, “Vanity”, “Paradise” and “Betrayal”. These tales are retellings of traditional tales, with more attention paid to characterization and mood. They range from the ghostly to tales of more visceral losses. One story in particular still comes back to me in quiet moments: this is a collection for many rereadings indeed.
Peril the First:
- Cherie Priest’s I Am Princess X (2015) A compelling YA story: good mystery, great friendship.
- George Elliott Clarke’s George & Rue (2005) Brutal and beautiful: story in a poet’s hands.
- Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed (2016) Retelling of The Tempest: revenge in the clink.
- The Ransom Riggs’ Trilogy (2011-2015) Haunting imagery and time-travel for YA readers.
- Greg Iles’ The Bone Tree (2015) Fifth in the series: also, doorstopper of doorstoppers.
- Shari Lapena’s The Couple Next Door (2016) Missing child: suspect parents.
- Iain Reid’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2016) A one-sitting read. Told from the inside-out.
- M.G. Vassanji’s Nostalgia (2016) Dystopia from a literary prize-winning author.
- Walter Mosley’s The Long Fall (2009) Reread of the first in the Leonid McGill NYC mystery series.
- Attica Locke’s Black Water Rising (2009) Reread of the first in the Jay Porter series.
These two novels would have counted but I didn’t complete them before October 31st and am still reading them: Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death (2010) and Steven Price’s By Gaslight (2016). I also started rereading Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories, which I wasn’t expecting to do, because I’d recently watched the film, but the book was so good (again) when I peeked inside, that I’ve just kept reading.
Peril on the Screen:
Seasons One and Two of “Scream” (2015-2016)
Because we loved the original films (so silly, such fun), we had a great time with this updated version, trying to guess where the creators would stick to the original and where they would diverge. We guessed right with the generalities but were pleasantly surprised by the specifics: good fun all around.
Season Three of “The Walking Dead” (2012-2013)
When it grew tiresome to inhabit the lives of a handful of teenagers, this was a great series to emphasize the grown-up aspects of surviving an apocalypse and the social fallout. We were really pleased to see one of the characters who had most annoyed us exit the show and pleased-to-despise a returning baddie. Plus, of course the prison set is endlessly fascinating under these circumstances.
Season One of “Happy Valley” (2014-2015)
Lately I’ve developed a habit of watching a single episode of a UK crime drama, pronouncing it “really good” and then moving on. (This isn’t exclusively a UK-TV-phenomenon: see below.) Here, I’ve persisted; it’s likely to serve as the incentive to revisit and continue with all the others. Not only is this story all-too-credible, and horrifying and disturbing in a very ordinary way, but I’m not sure there’s been a single episode which hasn’t made me cry. The other screen-stuff here has not had this effect. Not even close.
We also just peeked at the pilot for “Scream Queens” because an acquaintance who enjoys the “Scream” series recommended it; it could be fun, but we didn’t get far enough with it to know for sure. It’s an awful lot of fun to watch Jamie Lee Curtis though!
This year, we’ve been preoccupied with watching series rather than films, but we did squeeze in two movies:
“Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” (2015)
This was ridiculous, but that’s exactly what we expected, with a good mix of hilarity with the also-to-be-expected gore. And I loved the Ferris-Bueller-style reward fo those viewers who still hang around after the “end”.
Triple Dog (2010)
Filmed in Vancouver, this Canadian film was more of a dark coming-of-age tale than a horror movie, but as the teenaged girls come to terms with various struggles characteristic of their age group, one is haunted by the suicide of a friend and the sense of relentless guilt and loss permeates the story so that it did fit in after all. (Elements of the “Happy Valley” storyline here, too!)
This is the first year in a long time in which we have fallen far short of our 13-frightening-films. But the distractions from our ongoing project have been rewarding too!
On other screens, this season is my anniversary for having begun to play World of Warcraft with my family. It was the costumes and the wands, the wicker man celebrations and the broomsticks to ride: they sucked me into the world of MMORPG. We didn’t even decorate our house until October 29th this year, and the online play was seriously curtailed as well, but it’s always good fun, even when short-lived.
Peril on the Tabletop
We’ve also been playing some boardgames and cardgames this season, particularly Mr. Jack (in which one player is Jack-the-Ripper and seeks to elude capture by the other player) and Gloom (an Edward-Gorey-ish card game in which the object is to suffer the mostest).
Peril on the Table has been a worthy addition to this year’s RIP activities and I hope the number of spooky games on our shelves increases before RIPXII rolls around.
In all, my favourites for each category were the “Honor” story in Rui Umezawa’s Strange Light Afar (short story), George Elliott Clarke’s George & Rue (novel), “Happy Valley” (screen) and “Mr Jack” (game).
How about you? Were you RIP-ing? What were some of your highlights?
If you weren’t, do you think you might join in next year?