Tuesday, August 16, 2022

On Burnout and Blackouts

Over the last couple of months I've been struggling with severe burnout. It started at the end of April. Slowly, one by one, I lost all interest in all my hobbies and nothing seemed to be able to give me the joy and satisfaction it used to. Everything just seemed pointless. While I still read at a snail's pace I just couldn't motivate myself to write down my thoughts on anything I read. Blogging was completely out of the question. I just couldn't bring myself to do anything.

Soon even reading became too much of a chore. It was the last thing to go, fizzling out and disappearing completely with barely a whimper. On top of everything South Africa was hit with a severe and constant period of load shedding (rolling blackouts for 4 - 6 hours each day) which just added to all the stress and anxiety.

It's taken months, but I'm hopeful that I'm on the road to recovery. I've started reading again and this post is proof that I'm still able to string together sentences. (Coherency of said sentences are still questionable...)

So, if you haven't heard from me in a while that's the reason why. Normal content should resume soon.

(As I write this load shedding has started once again. See you all on the dark side!)

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

X-Wing Assembled!

I've always wanted to try my hand at building some model kits. Aside from some Star Wars papercraft this was something I've never ever tried before. Not even as a kid (well at least not that I can remember). As luck would have it I managed to pick up a Revell Star Wars Advent Calendar X-Wing Fighter model kit for a great price in March. It was my birthday month so I decided to spoil myself.

 Little did I know what I was letting me in for. There were so many pieces. So, so many.

And then I made the worst decision in my life. Deciding to do the optional painting. I had to teach myself how to work with acrylic paint and the learning curve was quite steep. Painting all the pieces with an unsteady hand took lots of coats. I think the main fuselage took at least 5 coats. Which took about a week to complete.

Then it came time to assemble everything. Here I struggled quite a bit. The pilot didn't quite fit into the cockpit and getting the chair to fit required some filing. In the end I manged to get it done, but it really shouldn't have been that hard.

The final product looked almost good enough...

 And then came to final touch - weathering. I think I went a bit overboard, but I quite like the result.

Was it frustrating to put together? Yes. Did I have fun? Yes. Was it worth it? Hell yes! I'm now the proud owner of a X-Wing starfighter assembled by my very own hands... even if it took me a week.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Review: Giving The Devil His Due

Title: Giving The Devil His Due
Edited by Rebecca Brewer
Pages: 290
ISBN: 9781947041905
Publisher: Running Wild Press
Published: 1 September 2021
Genre: Short stories / Horror
Source: Review copy from publisher

What if a young girl had the power to stop her tyrannical father from battering her mother ever again? What if a student had a secret weapon to end sexual assault by her predatory professor permanently? What if a housewife had unusual means to get back at her controlling husband and walk away from her marriage alive?

In Giving the Devil His Due, The Pixel Project’s first charity anthology, sixteen acclaimed fantasy, science fiction, and horror authors take readers on an unforgettable journey to alternative worlds where men who abuse and murder women and girls meet their comeuppance in uncanny ways.

(Cover art by Emir Orucevic)

Stories are powerful things. They shape how we experience and view our world, shining light on monsters real and imagined and giving hope that those monster can be slain. Giving The Devil His Due is a short story anthology filled with unsettling, powerful and thought-provoking stories which deal with abuse in all its varied forms.

Stories included in the anthology:

  • Hell on the Homefront Too • Stephen Graham Jones - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Steering Wheel Club • Kaaron Warren - ⭐⭐⭐
  • Sweet Justice • Kenesha Williams - ⭐⭐⭐
  • The Moon Goddess’s Granddaughter • Lee Murray - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Kindly Sea • Dana Cameron - ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Just Us League • Angela Yuriko Smith - ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • American Murder • Peter Tieryas - ⭐⭐
  • As We Stand and Pray • Jason Sanford - ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Finding Water to Catch Fire • Linda D. Addison - ⭐⭐⭐
  • Escape from Pleasant Point • Leanna Renee Hieber - ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Daughter of Echidna • Nicholas Kaufmann - ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Devil’s Pocket Change • Hillary Monahan - ⭐⭐⭐
  • The Tawny Bitch • Nisi Shawl - ⭐⭐⭐
  • Happy Birthday Baby • Kelley Armstrong - ⭐⭐⭐
  • Devil’s Hollow • Errick Nunnally - ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Little Thing • Christina Henry - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Giving The Devil His Due edited by Rebecca Brewer brings together stories from some of the top names in speculative fiction. The sixteen stories collected here hit hard and will give you a new perspective on the abuse and violence so many women worldwide have to endure on a daily basis.

"Too ashamed to show her the battleground of your body with its legacy of bruises, you went home." (p 43)

I enjoyed all the stories on offer here, but three stories really stood out to me. Hell on the Homefront Too by Stephen Graham Jones: Short, brutal and powerful. The perfect opening to the anthology which sets the scene for all the stories to come.
The Moon Goddess’s Granddaughter by Lee Murray: A slower, more melancholy story about the loss of freedom and the struggle to recapture lost dreams and break the shackles of an abusive relationship. Memorable and touching in the extreme. 
The Little Thing by Christina Henry: Vengeance comes in the most unexpected of forms. A very, very satisfying ending to both the story and the anthology.

In an unjust world justice has many incarnations. Some more wrathful than others...

Giving the Devil His Due shines a powerful spotlight on a topic which is so often ignored and does so in a powerful, impactful way. If you are looking for some great stories while supporting a great cause then look no further. Highly recommended!

100% of the net proceeds from the sales of the anthology will go towards supporting The Pixel Project’s anti-violence against women programs, campaigns, and resources.

The Rating: 8/10 (Great!)