19th August 2022

Welcome, my friends, to The Full Lid, where every Friday we bring you the best of positive pop culture commentary. This week we've got some of the wonderful cover versions Westworld has used as our interstitials, as well as all of this:


Golden Rage
Signal Boost
Where You Can Find Us This Week
The Department of Received Esoteric Print Goods
Signing Off / Playing Out
The Full Lid Header in blue reads 'Movies'
The poster for Prey shows the Predator fighting Naru in a burnt forest. We can see the Predator's wrist claws and mandibles, it's helmet illuminated by the last targeting sight on its right side. Naru has her back to us, hair down, arrows in a quiver over her shoulder and her axe stained with the Predator's bright green blood



Editor's note: Spoilers. Prey (2022) is rated UK 16 / US R and has content warnings for violence and gore (human and animals). The dog is injured but lives and is an excellent doggo. 

It's 1719 on the Great Plains and its hunting season. For Naru (Amber Midthunder), a young Comanche woman, that means struggling to be seen as an equal to her brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers) and his friends. But Naru isn't alone out in the wilds and whether she's hunter, prey or both is about to become the biggest question in her life.

The Predator movies are blood-stained mirrors, reflecting whatever they're held up to. Sometimes that's a cornucopia (the correct collective noun, I choose to believe, is 'A Flex') of classic action stars. Sometimes it's a likable and profoundly doomed group of cops from the dystopian near future of the 1990s. Sometimes it's a group of terrifying humans marooned on an alien world. Sometimes it's an unholy combination of massive re-shoots and terrible choices.

Here its Naru, and her foe the Predator (Dane DiLiegro). A conflict as simple as blood. 

Except it isn't. Prey works because every choice weaves into a larger story. Director Dan Trachtenberg and screenwriter Patrick Aison have put together a movie that casts multiple reflections: a self-contained event, a prequel to everything else we've seen from the franchise before, and the pressures of proving yourself in a field where no one knows or cares who you are. For the Predator, it's a whistle stop tour of murdering their way up the food chain. For Naru it's realizing she's no longer looking for the good fight, the good fight has found her.  Now she just has to win.

Midthunder turns in the best lead performance this franchise has ever seen. She's a physical presence throughout with exemplary action work, all the while showing us the battle Naru constantly fights just to be acknowledged. That battle is neatly off set by her scenes with her mother, Aruka (Michelle Thrush), and there's a refreshing lack of the sort of 'But you're just a girl!' beats you'd expect. Aruka is supportive of both her children, even if she'd prefer Naru to follow the same path as she did.

Her other relationships are far closer to the frontline. Taabe, played with amiable older brother charm by Beavers, struggles to accept his sister is the woman she is and not the kid he still remembers. Wasape (Stormee Kipp) and his friends bully Naru not because she's weaker than they are but because they know she doesn't back down.  It's not that Naru doesn't stop, it's that she doesn't stop thinking, an edge over her opponents she hones constantly.
Naru, played by Amber Midthunder, crouches behind a tree.
Amber Midthunder has always been great, especially in action sequences.
Speaking of everyone's favourite murderous big lad, Deligro has a lot of screen time as the movie progresses. His Predator is more reptilian, lankier and far more hands-on with an exuberant brutality that conveys 'THREAT' from the moment we first see him and his faceless helmet made of bone. 

All of this is impressive, but Trachtenberg and Aison make choices that ground the portrayal not only in their historical context, but also reflect modern audiences. The Predator's weapons, here several hundreds years before the first movie, are recognizable but noticeably less advanced. The French trappers speak French without subtitles, just as Naru would hear it. All the Comanche characters in the movie are portrayed by Comanche actors, and there's even a Comanche language track.

Trachtenberg and cinematographer Jeff Cutter continuously shoot in massive open spaces and find fun new ways to show the Predator moving through them. A fight with the French trappers unfolds in a dead forest and is a nightmare of ash and blood. Naru's first encounter with the Predator sees him outlined in the blood of the bear he's just killed. The final clash between Naru and the Predator happens on ground where Naru almost died in an earlier scene. As Naru's edge sharpens, we see the Predator's advantage diminish until we realize -- it's young. Deligro's Predator is an impulsive teenage murder lizard: showboating, taking hits it shouldn't, letting its temper get the best of it.

It's trying to prove itself, just like Naru. One of them succeeds.

Prey is a film about the precision born of necessity. It salutes its predecessors but breaks new ground, far better than most of them ever did. Frankly, the franchise needs it, more even than it needs new memes. As clever and careful as its lead (and her amazing doggo!), Prey doesn't put a foot wrong.

Prey is streaming via Hulu (in the US) and Disney+ (in the UK) now. 
Westworld Covers: Paint It Black

The delicious cognitive dissonance of hearing this for the first time will always make me smile. And they keep re-using it! Which is absolutely in line with the core ideals of the show! Good job, soundtrack!

Video description: Over an image of a Host from the show in the Vitruvian Man pose, the Ramin Djawadi cover 'Paint It Black' used in Westworld Season 1 plays.

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The front cover of Golden Rage Issue 1 shows a pair of hands, palm up, dripping in blood. On one is a bracelet that reads 'Grandma'

Golden Rage

Editor's note: spoilers and content warnings for violence and mild nudity.

We meet Jay mid-riot, surrounded by the island's murderous older women. Jay's unable to understand, to process what's going on until a force of nature named Rosie is nice to her. It's a moment of reckless, brutal kindness - the emotions at the core of both the series and it's first issue.

If anger is a weapon, kindness is a shield. From the first page to the last, Chrissy Williams' script interrogates the concept of kindness through the same lens used by Battle Royale and Lord of the Flies, spying on the awful things we do when we're cut off from society.

Caroline, Rosie, and Lottie are conscientious objectors. Caroline is a retired academic, Lottie has worked hard to present as everyone's archetypal grandma, and Rosie is a woman whose huge physical size hides how considerate she is. All of them have been dumped on the island by a society that's decided they're useless after menopause. None of them want any part of the mysterious culture we catch glimpses of.

Caroline and Lottie are content to survive, but Alice wants to help - returning to the lighthouse where she and the others liver, with a bedraggled, terrified Jay. Rosie is every inch the action heroine, intoning a Schwarzeneggerian 'WE HAVE GUEST.' Caroline and Lottie look like she's signed their death warrant. All of this presented in the tense, terse lines of Lauren Knight's art and washed with Sofie Dodgson's midnight soaked colours. The island is a serene battlefield, a place where cable knits are used to mop up viscera and where swearing isn't allowed while you're cleaning your weapons. As Rosie says:
'Your things are our things now. This island. Very hard. We make you strong. You help us. No one leaves.'
A group of women at a bonfire surround a newcomer. One of them, a huge woman, stalks through the crowd, rescues the newcomer and says 'Come with me if you want a bath'
Kindness as a shield. Kindness as a manacle. Kindness as the one direction the compass still points.

Williams is a fantastic poet and there's a poetic economy of language and expansiveness of meaning to the scene above and the book as a whole. The narrative feels human and cautious, the fear baked into the pages. That fragility is helped further by the way Becca Carey's lettering shows us the rhythm of speech and how Shayne Hannah Cui's flats give us a sense of volume, space, isolation and danger. Along with Knight's art and Dodgson's colours the sense of place is absolute, all focused by Joamette Gil's editing.

As Rosie also says:

'Is nowhere else to go.'

Golden Rage is a five issue miniseries brandishing knuckle dusters that read NUMBER 1 GRAN with a heart on its sleeve that it guards by any means necessary. Pick up your copy, or face the peril of no baths.

Golden Rage is published by Image and the first issue is available now. Find it at your local comic shop, my local comic shop or the Galactic BezosSphere.
Westworld Covers: Brain Damage

I love this song, and love the scene it scores even more. It stacks Westworld and the show's themes of personal identity, digital sentience, exploitation, slavery and societal change on top of a deeply successful nod to Fight Club and this bizarre hopeful moment that perhaps the good trouble has finally started. SO good.

Video description: Over an image of a Host from the show collapsed in the sand and stripped of its outer coating, the Ramin Djawadi cover of 'Brain Damage' by Pink Floyd used in Westworld Season 3 plays.

Signal Boost


Featured Boost Special This Week: Two For One!

  • Friends of the Lid  Ankorr 643 are still crowdfunding! Want to hear me as a jovial gladiator cop? Want to hear Marguerite as a crusading and totally not suss news reporter? Want to hear a cavalcade of friends old and new do future science crime and or crimes, some of which will be recorded in our living room? Sure you do! Check out the campaign!
The logo for Ankorr 643 depicts a city, shown here as blue vertical lines, under a dome. An orange sun rises behind it. The words Ankorr 643 are at the bottom of the image
A patch of red Scottish wasteland is visible with a cottage at its centre. A sign reads PEACE. STILLNESS. ISOLATION. VISIT RED VALLEY, JOIN THE FRONTIERS OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH!


  • Phoebe Wagner says 'My new solarpunk nonfiction anthology is now shipping from West Virginia University Press!'
  • G.M. Nair says 'I write a sci-fi/fantasy/mystery/comedy book series that some weirdos consider "award worthy".'
  • Doctor Sunshine // Mister Hyde says 'the transmasc sci-fi zine I've been helping put together is finally open for preorders now thru Sept 10th, with proceeds beyond cost of production going to the Rainbow Railroad. physical bundles + zines can ship to most countries, digital everywhere else.'
  • Queen of Swords say 'This fun new anthology of queer weird west stories is up for #preorder now and will coming out on 8/31. It’s being pubbed by LIBRATiger (Australia) and there are some familiar names in the TOC.'
  • Friend of the Lid Alan Baxter says 'Hey mate. Sallow Bend is dropping early (this Friday) and @CemeteryEbook are going to be giving it a lot of push from Friday onwards.'


Hashtags and Shenanigans

  • Friend of the Lid Brendon Connelly is doing all sorts of fun stuff with his Only Murders in the Building recaps for Friends of the Lid Film Stories.
  • Samariel K says 'I run a new YouTube series that does a deep dive on the various adaptations of Frankenstein. It’s called the FrankenFiles! It’s my passion project and I’m wildly proud of it.'
  • Paterfamilias says 'Hello there! @p5past is my charity gaming project. We release games, gaming resources, and gaming content but ask for donations to charity instead of traditional crowdfunding. We’ve had a slow start but are trying to build momentum.'
  • Dr. Jak says 'I write videogame maths explainers for people who don't have any training in maths'.




  • Friend of the Lid Dean J. Smith is fundraising for his top surgery. Please help out if you can. And hey maybe help Dean out and get cool dog related merchandise for yourself?
  • Melissa C. Navia of Strange New Worlds has written the best, and hardest thing I've read this week. It's about grief and how to do it and how it changes as you change. Go in prepared, but do go in.
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.
Westworld Covers: Exit Music - For A Film

Not just a haunting piece of music but again one that speaks to the core motifs of the show, the idea of story as a maze we're trapped in and of the same things happening in a different key. Listen especially to the end where this merges with one of the main orchestral themes for the show.

Video description: Over an image of a Host from the show in the Virtruvian Man pose, the Ramin Djawadi cover of 'Exit Music - For A Film' by Radiohead used in Westworld Season 1 plays.

Where You Can Find Us This Week

In The Booth

  • I recorded a great interview with Scott over at The Permaculture Podcast which will go live in a couple of weeks. We'll link to it then but in the meantime go say hello at@permaculturepod or his metal music and TTRPGs twitter, @nordaim.


  • An adorable lake monster! Questionable accents! UN!DEAD! GANGSTERS! The Darkside Detective continues to be immense fun and it turns out the solution to the case was three bonus cases!
  • Another ending! Some SERIOUS cosmic horror! Slay the Princess is amazing and we can't wait to play the full game next year! Here, as ever, are the Show Notes.

Podcast Land


PseudoPod 823: Little Freedoms

Westworld Covers: Sweet Child o' Mine

The all-cyberpunk, all the time third season of the show gets a lot of hate but I dug the heck out of it. The music choices also remained excellent.

Video description: Over an image of a Host from the show collapsed in the sand and stripped of its outer coating, the Ramin Djawadi cover of 'Sweet Child o 'Mine' by Guns 'n Roses used in Westworld Season 3 plays.

Department of Received
Esoteric Print Goods

A blueprint of the cruciform shaped spacecraft Event Horizon, In one corner is an enamel pin bearing the words EVENT HORIZON. In another is a mission patch for the LEWIS AND CLARK spacecraft, showing a small old fashioned sailing ship. To the left of the image is the blu-ray of Event Horion showing the vessel floating in space.
I pre-ordered this ages ago and...THERE'S A BLUEPRINT! AND A MISSION PATCH! My favourite 'awful things happen in space' movie returns!!!!!
The front covers of Walk the Vanished Earth by Erin Swan, The Midwich Cuckoos, The Kraken Wakes and The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham and Godslayers by Zoe Hana Mikuta. The first shows a red deer against a blue moon. The cover of Kraken Wakes depicts a red UFO emerging from the sea. The front cover of Midwich Cuckoos depicts a pale child with unsettling eyes. The front cover of Day of the Triffids shows an eye hovering in the sky above a city. The front cover of Godslayers shows the two women who are its leads, both armed and both ready to fight with a huge mech suit behind them, its eyes glowing pink
Portal Bookshop are the BEST. Walk the Vanished Earth is a generational story about a family on Earth and beyond, Godslayers is the sequel to the best rom-com with mecha and patriarchy smashing I've ever read, and the Wyndhams are new editions with new forewords.

I don't reread books, by and large. For Wyndham I'll make an exception.

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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 you had at least as much fun as these goodest of boys did.

TFL returns next week. Check my Carrd for all the places you can find me, including the Twitters, where I continue to laugh in the face of linear time, the attention economy and false critical hierarchies -- join me! 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 Tom Cardy. Because it's been a few weeks. And because... look just press play. It's been a long week, and this?
is a Full Lid.
Video Description: Tom Cardy explains that he does not work here to an uncaring universe.
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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