Friday, 3 June 2016

“Of the Month” June 2016

Book of the Month:
alif-the-unseen
Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

My second “Of the Month” in a row for G. Willow Wilson! I think that might be a first. Anyway, yes, apart from writing amazing comic books, Ms. Wilson also wrote this novel, an urban sci-fi/fantasy mashup that takes computer programming and djinn and wraps them up in a fascinating yarn that is ultimately about the importance and power of language. It’s rather fast-paced and its unnamed middle-eastern city setting is exceedingly well-drawn. Ms. Wilson certainly has a gift for descriptive prose. It’s like a cross between William Gibson and Neil Gaiman (particularly in one thrilling sequence where coding a program becomes an hallucinogenic vision trip). I wish the protagonist were just a bit more likeable, though; he tends to get pissy and mean when he’s under stress, and he’s under stress pretty much the whole entire book. Overall an excellent read.

Musicians of the Month:
aivisurasshu
Aivi & Surasshu

An amazing duo made up of two composers: an organic girl named Aivi and a machine boy named Surasshu. They make beautiful, lush compositions with classical instruments and chiptunes interwoven. They’ve written an album, but also music for video games as well as music (and songs) for Steven Universe! Yes, much of the mind-blowingly-awesome compositions from Steven Universe came from Aivi and Surasshu. So give them a listen, fo’ realsz.

TV Show of the Month:
puffin rock
Puffin Rock

When you have a toddler, you end up watching a bunch of TV aimed for the toddler market. A bunch of it is, let’s face it, crap. So when you find a great show, it’s like finding a diamond in the rough. Puffin Rock is an Irish-made cartoon about a small island off the coast of Ireland populated by shrews, seagulls, seals, crabs, and (of course) puffins. And it’s frikkin’ gorgeous. Seriously, this series has some of the best artwork I’ve seen in a cartoon. It’s like Little Golden Book come to life. And the characters are rather charming (their little Irish lilts do help quite a bit), especially main character Oona and her little brother Baba, who is undeniably one of the cutest cartoon characters in existence. The stories are light and breezy and never hit you too hard over the head with a moral or message. It’s fun. And oh-so-pretty.

Plus it’s narrated by Roy (Chris O’Dowd) from BBC’s The IT Crowd. Seriously. So that’s just a hoot. He gets flustered and tongue-tied sometimes, and sometimes even tries to interact with the characters and influence them in spite of the fact that they clearly cannot hear him. It’s some of the more enjoyable narration I can think of.

Puffin Rock is only available on Netflix in the states, but it’s worth it to seek it out if you have wee ones.

Categories: Of the Month.

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