March Staff Picks: Intern Picks!
Words By F(r)iction Staff
Okay. Seriously. I’m being serious here. I cannot overstate how much I enjoyed reading the graphic novel On A Sunbeam by Tillie Walden. It’s queer, it’s magical, it’s trippy and tear-jerking—and above all, it’s gorgeous! (I mean, just LOOK at that image from the first chapter! Seriously.)
The story centers around protagonist Mia as she joins a small and quirky crew of ancient building restorers working in the quiet fringes of space. Flickering between past and present, the narrative flows as beautifully as the visuals, weaving a kaleidoscopic story of love, heartbreak, danger, and chosen family. If you like graphic novels featuring powerful, intelligent women and non-binary folk doing dope things and feeling big feels while flying around in their giant koi fish spaceship, then this book is for you. This is also probably the only book out there that hits every one of those markers, so you better get on it!
You can read this treasure online for free (it was first released as a webcomic), but if you can afford it, I would highly suggest purchasing the graphic novel. First of all, you can support the artist this way! And second, the beauty of the pages when they’re in your hands… it’s just a sublime experience. Seriously.
The comedian and actor Brett Goldstein, who many may know as the stoic footballer Roy Kent in Ted Lasso, hosts a film-related podcast that I have become slightly obsessed with. And it’s not just any old film podcast: Goldstein begins the conversation with his guests by asking them how they died, hence the name Films to be Buried With. As he interviews other well-known actors and comedians, I have not only found myself answering the questions alongside them, but genuinely smiling throughout the hour-long episodes. The first episode, recorded in 2018 in Goldstein’s kitchen and featuring British comedian James Acaster, serves as the perfect example of how chaotic and unhinged the podcast can be. With questions ranging from “what’s the first movie you remember seeing as a kid?” to “which DVD would you like to be buried with?”, you can’t help but become immersed in the conversation. While I still have a ton of episodes to listen to, some of my favorites include the very first with James Acaster, Ed Gamble’s “Judgement Day” episode, and Quinta Brunson’s lovely episode.
The Murderbot Diaries, written by Martha Wells, has the spirit of a crime procedural with the trappings of a sprawling galactic setting and a very unamused bot narrator. Have you always yearned to see a salty detective, with less gender and more built-in arm guns, roundhouse kick a capitalist goon in the head? You’ll probably like Murderbot as much as I do. The only thing more endearing than Murderbot’s love of media is Murderbot’s love for the humans it reluctantly but fiercely protects. (“Reluctantly” according to Murderbot, but its read on its own emotions is not to be trusted.) There’s nothing more lovable than a character who refuses to love and yet is suspiciously keen on protecting a certain few.
Besides having an agender, asexual protagonist I’d let rescue me from terrifying space fauna any day, The Murderbot Diaries is also a mirrored look into the future. Will capitalism claim the stars, or will bright spots of genuinely caring humanity endure? Come for the neopronouns, stay for the sarcasm-drenched fight against the corporates.
The Hugo and Nebula award–winning series has five novellas beginning with All Systems Red, one full length novel, and a new release scheduled for November 2023. Catch up before System Collapse releases at the end of this year!
As I write this, the days are getting longer. Spring in Northern Minnesota is marked by surprisingly sunny days—ice drips from our roofs creating craters in the snowy banks. Just when I’m about to naively pack up my winter gear, a winter storm warning blows through, turning the roads to black ice and coating us all in fresh snow. It’s a season of constant change and one that makes me recognize the wild beauty of the world around me.
I’ve long felt that my soul rests at the bottom of Lake Superior, or Gichigami. A striking and powerful body of water, so large it feels like the ocean. It is along these shores that the Ojibwe and Dakota people have always, and still, thrive and reside.
With this in mind, there are two Native Minnesotan artists I’d love to recognize!
Thomas X, musician and artist: The Seven Teachings
The Ojibwe Seven teachings: respect, truth, wisdom, honesty, humility, courage, and love.
I hope today you can take a moment to think about these teachings. How can you incorporate them into your day today? Maybe even your daily practice?
Rabbett Before Horses Strickland, artist: Native Report
I was in AICHO (American Indian Community Housing Organization) when I first saw Strickland’s work. His series of paintings are a gorgeous mix of folklore, mythology, and history. In all of his pieces, he depicts the figure of Nanabozhoo, a prominent figure in Ojibwe creation stories. Strickland’s work is truly breathtaking.