April 2024 media

  • Moonage Daydream: Ostensibly a documentary about David Bowie, though I found it to be somewhat light on information about the man himself. Instead it felt more like a concert film interspersed with some archival footage of interviews and the like. (The summary claims it “also serves as a guide to living a fulfilling and meaningful life in the 21st Century,” which is maybe a bit much, but I did enjoy hearing Bowie’s thoughts.) It features some surprisingly ambitious effects work as well, which feel suitably trippy for its subject. A good time, even if I learned less than I thought I would.

  • Prophet: A sci-fi novel by Helen Macdonald and Sin Blaché about a substance that induces apocalyptically powerful nostalgia. (It was on my list thanks to their joint appearance on My Perfect Console, as well as my previous enjoyment of Macdonald’s H Is for Hawk.) It’s a great high-concept idea, but the true appeal for me is the truly virtuosic character banter. The end of the acknowledgements thanks “the fic writers of AO3 and the internet,” and I can see why! I’ve rarely enjoyed reading characters bounce off each other this much.

  • The Cloud Under the Sea: We’re all narrowly averting disaster, constantly and in ways that most of us are unaware of; this feature by Josh Dzieza for the The Verge helpfully illuminates one of those ways. It’s about the undersea cables that carry the internet’s data—800,000 miles’ worth—and the people who fix them despite the growing financial and geopolitical obstacles. I love a story on an essential bit of infrastructure that I’d never considered before, even when it inevitably brings new things to be anxious about.