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Notable media consumed of 2014

I recommend all of these (except GRRM). More detailed reviews on request!

Books and audiobooks
Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn (audiobook and movie)
I'm sure everyone but me has seen/read these before.
P.N. Elrod, Vampire Files series
This became my go-to brain candy toward the end of the year.
Jeaniene Frost, various Night Huntress universe books
Paranormal romance
Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling), The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike #1)
I liked this a lot but there was too much classism.
Kerry Greenwood, Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher #1) (audiobook)
If James Bond were a young independently wealthy heiress who lived in a hotel in Australia in the early 20th century, cared about social justice, and was willing to involve other people as team members in his missions instead of doing it all by himself, he might be Phryne Fisher.
N.K. Jemisin, Inheritance Trilogy
I LOOOOOOVED THIS. There are more new ideas per page than in any other fantasy I've read in ages. I also loved how each book in the series featured a different protagonist but they all tie together.
Laurie King, The Moor (Mary Russell #4)
I love her writing style and I like the depiction of a strong marriage where the partners' passions are not restricted to sex.
Katherine Lampe, Demon Lover (Caitlin Ross #6)
Paranormal romance set in a small town in Colorado; the protagonists are humans who are knowledgeable in witchcraft and shamanism rather than having superpowers, for the most part.
George R.R. Martin, A Song of Ice & Fire series (audiobooks)
I really liked books 1–4, even though I disliked much high fantasy, because I cared about most of the characters and there was something about their depictions that felt really honest and for the most part compassionate toward the viewpoint characters. But then halfway through book 5 I suddenly gave up. Because:
  1. I began not to trust that Martin would resolve anything. I pretty much only like stories that actually end.
  2. I am sick of steeping myself in rape culture. I don't think there are a lot of on-page rapes, but everyone is always talking about/joking about/threatening rape.
  3. I do believe that Martin started out with the intention of criticizing the culture of the world he's writing in, but he also ends up reifying it, especially in the later books.
Lynne Murray, Josephine Fuller series
Light mystery series featuring a fat woman protagonist and a non-overwhelming amount of fat activism.
Karl Schroeder, Pirate Sun (Virga #3) (audiobook)
Swashbuckling hard SF. I read about 1 book in this series per year, because a little hard SF goes a long way for me.

Movies
Advanced Style
Movie based on the blog of the same name, about fashionable older people, mostly in New York City
Blood: The Last Vampire (anime movie & live action)
Like it says on the tin.
The Bodyguard
Thai wire-fu action comedy. The director-star is a GREAT comedian.
Departures
Japanese film about a young man who takes a job as an encoffiner.
Finding Vivian Meier
She was a photographer who lived in the mid-20th century and worked as a nanny/housekeeper. Her photos were only fairly recently discovered; some people say (and I agree) that she was a top talent.
Grand Hotel
1932 ensemble cast movie starring Garbo, Crawford, two Barrymores, and so on.
Malcolm X
Spike Lee's 3 hour dramatized biopic. Completely mesmerizing.
Mongol
Part 1 of a Russian-made trilogy about Genghis Khan. It didn't get great reviews but I found it quite compelling for some reason. The many battle scenes go on way too long and are way too gory, but in a way that reminds me of The Iliad.
Nosferatu & Shadow of the Vampire
The first vampire film and a drama based on the making of it, which many people recommended to me when I mentioned I had recently watched Nosferatu
Shaft
Classic 1970s blaxploitation film that makes me want to write Bond/Shaft crossover fic. Maybe in my fic both Bond and Shaft can be played by Idris Elba. ;-)
The Sword of Doom
Noirish samurai movie beautifully filmed in black and white
20 Feet From Stardom
Documentary that won the 2013 Academy Award, about female backup singers in pop from the 50s to the present. Bonus Mick Jagger and Sting.
Tales of the Night
French "silhouette animation" film loosely stringing together six fairy tales set in Medieval Europe, the West Indies, Aztec times, West Africa, and Tibet.
Maleficent
ALL THE SQUEE.

Series (yes I'm way behind on series, don't laugh at me)
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — I kind of like the idea of this series more than the actual series, but they're trying hard.
  • Death Note — Anime pitting a 20-something master villain with a supernatural weapon against a 20-something eccentric master detective. But the shinigami is the real star as far as I am concerned.
  • Elementary — Hey writers, this series would still work fine if Watson weren't so gosh darned codependent so stop writing her that way, kay? (I've only just finished the first season, no spoilers please.)
  • Hawaii Five-O — This series brought to you by the tourism board of Hawaii is pretty good because there are multiple characters of color, a fat guy who sells shave ice, Hiro Masi Oka, and an Ob-Scene in every episode where two of the team members have a marital buddy cops squabble while driving in a car. Bonus Mark Dacascos. (we've just started the second season)
  • Torchwood — This is another series where I like the idea (of Captain Jack Harkness and his team of bisexual agents doing a not very good job of protecting the Earth, especially the part that is Wales, from alien invaders from the Rift) more than the actual episodes. But I like the idea SO MUCH.
  • Witch Hunter Robin — anime about a team of agents protecting humans against people who manifest dangerous magical powers. Highly atmospheric, and unlike many anime shows, sometimes depicts the downtrodden (e.g., one episode is set in a homeless shelter)

Games

  • Gone Home (mac) — point and click exploration
  • Papers Please (mac, also available for ios) — you play an immigration officer
  • Papo & Yo (mac) — puzzle solving story, content warning for child abuse and alcoholism
  • Revolution 60 (ios) — turn-based combat story with kickass female heroes
  • Inferno (mac, also available for ios) — you have a new fireplace and burn things in it, and then stuff happens
  • Monument Valley (ios) — puzzle game where you move a character through a series of Escher-ish buildings


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