6th May 2022

Hey folks! It's the top of the month, time for a short recap.

Here's The Plan: every Friday at 5 p.m. you get a double shot of pop culture positivity. Everything I found interesting, weird or fun in pop culture this week, direct to your inbox. Reviews! Analysis! Recipes! Alliteration!

Like email, but fun!

This week's interstitials are the extraordinary Egyptian artists whose work was spotlighted on Moon Knight. Thanks to Thriller Soundtrack Music for their work collating the playlist. Also if you want to find out more, these pieces at The New Arab and The National News go into a lot more detail. We've included what info we can, and, where possible buy links for artists' work.

Let's see what else we have on deck this week:


Flowers for the Sea
Wired up Wrong
Where You Can Find Us This Week
Department of Received Esoteric Print Goods
Signal Boost
Signing Off / Playing Out
The Full Lid banner in blue reads 'Books'
The cover of Flowers for the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn

Flowers for the Sea


Editor's note: spoilers. Flowers for the Seas has content warnings for graphic descriptions of body horror (including related to pregnancy). 


Iraxi's world has a bow and a stern. Her life is not her own, wrapped around the child that horrifies and protects her. Iraxi's people are orphans, people whose land sunk beneath them. For some, Iraxi is why. For others, Iraxi is hope.

Rocklyn's prose is lush with sensation - smells, textures and tastes piled atop another like Iraxi's murderous, terrified fellow sailors. Her moments of grace are hard won and fleeting, a trauma survivor focused on whatever gets her closer to control, seizing every choice like her child claws for purchase on the world.

But control is far harder to pin down.  Once, she finds it through sex. Twice, through sleep. Always through rage. The lens of the ocean, and the prose, shifts with Iraxi's perceptions and the reader's direction of travel through the prose. But the rage, the blood, is compulsory, especially when its shared. Especially when Iraxi isn't sure she wants it to be, and is convinced there's nothing she can do about it.

All art is contextualized by its time, and to say this was a powerful week to read this book is the definition of an understatement. Iraxi's dialogue with motherhood, and with her child, is as central to her biological and spiritual core as it is the novella itself. She knows her people are doomed. She knows they hate her. She knows her child, and the fact she has a chance to actually carry it to term on their endless voyage, is the only thing keeping her alive. She's resolutely unsure whether that's what she wants, engaging up to her bloody elbows with the tangled net of issues. 

This isn't just a book about the battle for bodily autonomy, it is the battlefield itself.

Iraxi is a social being to some, an enemy to others, a mother to one, and an outcast. She has no control until she decides to take that control for herself, creating it on her own terms. A clenched fist, a lifted claw, the sound of a baby chuckling with an impossible voice and a ruined world recontextualized. Rocklyn scatters the wreckage of a sunken fairytale around her -- from a lover to a prince to a foe -- and then pointedly refuses to let any of them leave the stage until Iraxi is damn well finished with them.

Flowes for the Sea is an intensely structured novella, thick with blood, sweat, and the threat of more. It's a superb piece of deconstructed fantasy, a salt-brined fairytale with cracked skin and the sharpest of teeth, woven together by Rocklyn's extraordinary lyricism. An eloquent, brutal nightmare.

Flower for the Sea is available at all fine bookshops now, and is a finalist for Best Novella for both the Nebula and the Ignyte awards. Thanks to Portal Bookshop for our copy.
Moon Knight Mix Tape: End Credits by Hesham Nazih

Here's an excellent interview with Nazih discussing the process of scoring the show.

Video description: A still of Moon Knight in his 'Mr Knight' persona.
The Full Lid Header in white reads 'Comics'
The cover of Wired Up Wrong by Rachael Smith

Wired Up Wrong


Editor's note: spoilers. Content warnings for discussions of struggling with mental health.

Rachael Smith has days like this, and she knows a lot of the rest us do too.
Rachael lies in bed under purple covers which are on top of a vast pillar thousands of feet in the sky. The caption reads 'Just Get Out Of Bed'
A lot of this book resonates. Like this page.
Wired Up Wrong is a collection of autobiographical comics. Like Quarantine Comix, it's smart and funny, kind and honest and open. It's also very smartly structured. The above phrase, and single page image, is one of two recurring themes through the book that provide structure and bearings for reader and Rachael alike. The gap between expectation and reality is sometimes cast, and, sometimes, puts you on a just-about bed-sized pillar thousands of feet in the air.

A lot of people have been there. Rachael draws her way out, with a style that feels friendly and kind, even when the subject matter doesn't. In fact, this book sees her address why the really bad version of Barky, the literal black dog she personifies her depression through, is so warm and fluffy and cuddly. Because he's comfortable, because he wants her to relax and not move and wrap self-hatred around her like a cloak. Rachael shows us what happens on the days where Barkey wins and also, crucially, shows us how, a lot of the time, he loses.
Rachael bonds Marian a pregnant friend by saying 'YOU HAVE TWO SKELETONS INSIDE YOU.' It goes as well as you'd think
This makes me laugh every time.
A lot of the time Barky loses because Rachael isn't just an open book about this stuff, she's an intensely funny one. One strip has her fantasize about how great it would be to be a cloud, admitting that Cloud Rachael looks a bit scary but is clearly having a good time. A running gag involving the two men in her brain spinning the wheel of her emotional responses starts brilliantly and only gets better. Another series walks her through a successful trip to Canada and the terror and joy of international travel. I felt that one in my bones. 

Also the one about giving garbage identity and apologizing when you throw it away...

Every strip is kind and intensely open-heartedly honest. A series about anti-depressants is informative, funny and reassuring. A story about her first experience of sexual harassment is tense and still and precise, explaining not just what happened but how things could have gone. Its cathartic and helpful and pragmatic. Think Leo McGarry looking Josh Lyman in the eye and saying 'I been down here before and I know the way out.' A series of signposts left by one person's journey through issues universal to many of us. 

But also a reminder , from time to time, there's a raincloud shaped like your head and it's having a really good day.

Wired Up Wrong is Rachael Smith at her best and to her core; completely without front, vastly perceptive, open-eyed, open-hearted, wickedly smart, fiercely kind and riotously funny. I loved it. I think you will too.

Wired Up Wrong is available from your local comic store, my local comic store and the smaller but still blazing tire fire that used to be Comixology.

Qurantine Comix is also available through those methods, but if you can you should buy it through Rachael's Etsy store and be ready for other things to land in your cart too. 
Moon Knight Mix Tape: Bahlam Ma'ak by Nahat el-Sagheera 

El-Sagheera is one of several older artists featured.

Video description: A still of Moon Knight in his 'Mr Knight' persona.

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Moon Knight Mix Tape: Saat Saat by Rayess Bek

Speaking of Saat Saat, here's Rayess Bek's take on it from their free to download mix tape, which also features on the show.

Video description: A still of Moon Knight in his 'Mr Knight' persona.

Signal Boost


Featured Boost

  • Friend of the Lid, writer, podcaster, graphic designer, Dieselbane and tireless force for good Jordan Shively could use a hand, having just had the rug pulled out from under him unexpectedly on a big project. His new Matt Wallace and Premee Mohamed collections are out now, his EA collection is amazing. Throw him your graphic design needs.







That's this week's Signal Boost! If you have a project you'd like to see here get in touch or check Twitter for my weekly call.
Moon Knight Mix Tape: El Melouk by Ahmed Saad
featuring 3enba and Double Zuksh
Video description: A still of Moon Knight in his 'Mr Knight' persona.

Where You Can Find Us This Week

Roguemaker Episode 1 Manifest

Accents for Fun and Profit

  • Roguemaker has lift off! Step aboard Plutonic Interstellar Flight 99 for a journey that... it'll be fine... IT'LL BE FINE... Peanuts?

In The Booth

  • Recorded my PseudoPod outros for the month and feel virtuous AF.


Podcast Land


Cast of Wonders 493: One Day in Infinity

Editor's note: Do you need a good cathartic, hopeful cry? I've got the story for you.

PseudoPod 808: Food Man

Moon Knight Mix Tape: Enta by DJ Kaboo

Video description: The end credits of Moon Knight show stylized images from the show including pyramids, sand dunes and the god Khonshu as the music plays.

Department of Received
Esoteric Print Goods

Dave Cook's Killtopia has been getting great reviews, work and I'm excited to dig in.
A dog. A ball. A pool. A tragedy masterpiece of silent comedy.
Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher


Find me on The Online

A drawing of Alasdair Stuart trailing pop culture wherever he goes
Image by the multi-talented Jen Williams
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Signing Off / Playing Out

Thanks for reading, folks!  I hope the week was good and that at some point you got to go outside. Spring weather has finally arrived here, which means nice patches punctuated by pouring rain.

TFL returns next week. Check my Carrd for all the places you can find me, including the Twitters, where sometimes the puns are fine art. Follow us on Twitch to be notified when we go live.

TFL is a free weekly newsletter. Here's how you can support it and me: And thank you!

Playing us out this week is ... let's be honest, the moment you saw this go live last week you knew it'd be here, didn't you?  Hang in there folks. Paramount Plus launches in the UK in June (and for no extra cost to Sky Cinema customers), so at least the end of the tunnel no longer demands piracy. We'll hold off on any coverage until then, so in the meantime?
This is a Full Lid.

Video Description: The opening credits of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
Copyright Alasdair Stuart © 2022 -- All rights reserved

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Agathon Towers · Cheapside Road · Reading, Berkshire RG1 7AG · United Kingdom

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