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nerd diaries: November 2020

Updated: Dec 19, 2020

November gave me three gifts.

N.K. Jemisin blew my mind with The City We Became.

I returned to the joy of paranormal erotic fiction in Black Witch Magic.

And I discovered a whole subgenre of fiction that I didn't know about. I can't remember how I found out about The Honjin Murders, part of Pushkin Press' Vertigo crime imprint, but I read it and adored it.

The Honjin Murders is part of the honkaku fiction movement in Japan. honkaka means 'orthodox', and it is inspired by golden age detective fiction - your Agatha Christies, locked rooms, diagrams, puzzles, poisons, a cast of potentially guilty characters, a detective with unorthodox deductive powers... but it's all done with a Japanese sensibility and setting.

I spent 2008 - 2015 researching, teaching and writing on East Asian popular culture, with a particular focus on Korea and Japan, so this sort of thing - riffing off interwar detective fiction, but Japanese - is right up my street.

My film viewing continues to hone in on the 1980s - 2000s, with apparently a penchant for teen slashers right across the board.

I watched the director's uncut version of Possessor. Hmm. I found it too slow, and it spent too long lasciviously lingering on the gore, loving it. Gore is fine, but the way the camera worshipped it felt a bit teenage, like a kid revelling in the forbidden. But everyone is raving about it, so I perhaps need to see the main release version - the uncut version definitely needed a good 25 minutes hacking out. Andrea Riseborough, Christopher Abbott and Jennifer Jason Leigh were all insanely good though.

Beyond the books listed above, my film bangers were Blood Diner, The People Under the Stairs, Troop Zero, and Relic (blog entries to come btw on My Bloody Valentine, Mausoleum and Final Destination).

And it was a total pleasure introducing my daughters to Napoleon Dynamite: 'Tina! You fat lard!'


ip: BBC iPlayer

N: Netflix

BoB: Box of Broadcasts

YT: YouTube

AP: Amazon Prime

NMM: National Media Museum, Bradford

WRC: Cineworld, White Rose Centre, Leeds

Anything with an 'R' added = paid rental

Anything with a 'K' added = watched with my kids



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