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October 12th, 2019

things I've read/watched

Books
- Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey (2019). There's been a murder at a fancy magic boarding school outside of LA, and the estranged, non-magical sister of the one of the teachers there is hired to investigate. I absolutely loved this. It is absolutely magic boarding-school noir, complete with the POV character's self-loathing and moderately justified bitterness. The characters are well-drawn, the worldbuilding is developed with a light but deft touch, and the plot unspools in a very satisfying way. This one is almost certainly going on my Hugo ballot.

Movies
- The Limehouse Murders (2016). Billy Nighy plays A Scotland Yard detective investigating a series of sensational murders in Victorian London while also trying to save a former music-hall star who is accused of poisoning her husband. This felt very low-budget to me; nothing in it looked very good. The movie's gender politics made me uncomfortable, what with spoilerCollapse ) OTOH, I very much enjoyed David Booth as the cross-dressing music hall comedian Dan Leno, and I enjoyed all the music hall stuff in general, of which there was quite a bit. Multiple canon queer characters, if you're looking for that.

- Society (1989). A high school kid feels progressively alienated from his family, to the point that he starts to suspect that something is really, really off about them. This is slow-burn social satire horror supposedly containing "extremely icky body horror" (paraphrased from a professional review). I readily admit that satire is not my preferred mode, but even so, I found the theme of "the rich literally eat people they consider beneath them" pretty incoherent within the movie.

Also, frankly, I thought the body horror was pretty mediocre. I can think of so many instances of body horror I found more interesting and effective than in this movie. And the famous "surprising climax" (also from a review) was only surprising in that I didn't understand why it happened.

On the plus side, the general late-80s cheesiness was fun. The movie stars Billy Warlock of later Baywatch fame (lol) and ends with a very shippable m/m/f possibility, helped along by the fact that Warlock's male BFF is clearly in love with him. It also features mutually enthusiastic parent-child incest, if you're into that!

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

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