The Full Lid 3rd May 2019

Hi! I'm Alasdair Stuart, professionally enthusiastic pop culture analyst, podcaster and 2019 Best Fan Writer Hugo finalist. This is The Full Lid, my weekly pop culture enthusiasm download.  There are definite Avengers: Endgame spoilers this week so if you haven't seen it yet, steer away from The Men By The Lake.  Let's see what else we've got this week, shall we?


Spotlight: Elsa Sjunneson-Henry
The Men By The Lake
So, How's Work?
So Where Can We Find You This Week?
Signing Off
Spoilers abound and sharing is caring so if you enjoy this issue, let your friends know. Now, let's open the lid!
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Commander Falconer is the hero's hero's hero. A gifted combat veteran, with a really cool eye patch, Falconer is rewarded for her valor by being transferred to a research facility on Pluto.


She's being punished.

Falconer is by the book, driven, courageous and quietly worried she's extremely broken. Her new staff include:
  • Christy-Endlessly enthusiastic, very well read, excited to be there and with hidden depths...
  • Lowell-Cyborg, rich internal fantasy life which never stays internal terrible long, can survive outside without a space suit. Sometimes remembers things.
  • Burney-Enigmatic! Prodigious! Knows other long words!

It would have been so easy for Oblivity to be a space sitcom. Radio 4's very fond of them and the show has that confidence and bounce in its step for sure. But what becomes apparent very quickly is just how smart this show is and also, fundamentally, how kind. Also it's very funny, and occasionally disgusting. Lowell in particular, played with syllabic berserker glee by the mighty Ashley Hunt is a fount of terrifying, occasionally damp knowledge. But, brilliantly, where other shows would rest in that 'student flat in space' Goldilocks zone made of odd socks and terrible food choices, Oblivity burns instead for the high frontier.

As the show goes on, writer Rob Stringer cleverly plays out both some excellent world building and some really impressive character work. Cate Nunn's Falconer in particular is great, a rock-steady officer who is convinced she's anything but and slowly finds herself being healed by standing next to Pluto's shambolic collection of inmates. Falconer is strict, by the book, angry and kind in a really obtuse way and the show is at it's best when she's allowed to be all those things at once. Likewise, Lowell is often a punchline but never just that and Burney's rich, byzantine internal scheming marks him out as much more than an off the shelf Science Officer. Although Max Windich does have massive fun playing with the vocal expectations of that sort of role, the deadpan, laconic North to Lowell's exuberant South.

But it's Hannah Wilmshurst's Christy who stays with you. Episode 3, Revolutions in the Air, in particular is a real standout. A solo pilot, circumnavigating the solar system, crashes at Persephone. While her ship's being repaired, her relationship with Christy grows in a way that's both heart-breakingly British and reticent and desperately sweet and romantic. That by itself would be enough but the payoff to all this gives Christy yet another dimension, sets Amelia the navigator up for a possible return and does all of this with clear eyes, a massive heart and a wicked sense of humor.

Oblivity is a fiercely good show. The cast are all top notch, the scripts crackle with absurdity, humor and action and the show has a unique energy that's just deeply, profoundly likable. Season 1 has an episode left and you should absolutely check it out. Falconer and her team are, despite appearances to the contrary, the best of the best.

Oblivity's first five episodes are available now with the sixth following shortly. Their really excellent website (And their excellent badges) is here.
The Kings. Gravity at this point is pretty much officially not speaking to them and it's AMAZING.

Spotlight: Elsa Sjunneson-Henry

Best Fan Writer finalist Elsa Sjunneson-Henry is also up for awards through her work at Fireside and Uncanny. Elsa’s beat is, like all of us, wide-ranging and takes in fiction, non-fiction and earlier in her career, RPG design. Regardless of theater, her work is defined by activism and eloquence moving in lockstep. As a non-fiction writer, her work has appeared at TorBarnes and Noble and many others. As a fiction writer, she’s appeared in anthologies, Uncanny and Fireside.

Elsa's writing, wherever it appears and in whatever form it takes always has focus and eloquence. She always unpacks its central ideas with absolute precision, the intensely complex emotional, psychological and sociological algebra of communicating with her audience always successfully landed. Much of Elsa’s work has centered on raising the visibility of disabled people and through that, increasing their inclusion in the speculative genre field. It’s yielded and will continue to yield, impressive results. She can be found on twitter at @snarkbat and online at 
Edited by the amazingly talented Harleivy, originally on twitter, uploaded to youtube and completely perfect.

The Men By The Lake

I saw Endgame last night, and the final half hour is basically an Up level assault on your emotions just with way more punching and Asgardians. But the moment that really hits hard comes right at the very end. There's no explosions, no last minute gambits,. It's just three men by a lake.

The first is Bucky, Captain America's boyfriend/sidekick/successor depending on where you stand. Buck doesn't get much to do here and there's been some criticism of him being sidelined. Where every other character reaches either peace with themselves or a perfect bow out, Captain America's sidekick is...still that. He watches the passing of the torch from a distance, not even acknowledged by his oldest friend.

Except, watch the scene again and it becomes clear Bucky knows far more about what's happening than anyone notices. He's obviously figured out Steve isn't coming back from the past and lets him go. He knows who the man by the lake is long before Sam sees him. He knows what's about to happen and he's fine with it. Whether that's because, like Elliot Spencer in Leverage he's at equilibrium with being damned or whether it's just because he's happy for his friend doesn't matter. Bucky, one of the two men out of time, is finally comfortable where he is. On Captain America's left. 

Then there's Steve himself. There's a delightful, and probably incorrect, rumor that the original plan was that this was to have been Stan Lee’s final cameo, Steve’s long way round return to the 21st century having taken in stop offs at every movie along the way.  On the one hand, what a graceful, gentle bow that would have been on 22 movies of cameos. On the other, it would have denied Evans this moment. Because Chris Evans saves some of his best work for Old Steve Rogers. There’s something defiant, almost impish about him at the lake. He’s delighted that he’s got here, overjoyed that his friend gets a turn and almost as pleased that he gets to mess with him a little first. Most of all, he’s an old soldier who has realized, at last, he can stand down. I couldn't help but think of Tim O'Brien's Going After Cacciatto and The Things They Carried, books concerned with the burdens of the Vietnam war. So much of this scene is about Steve putting the soldier's burden down and doing so in a completely non-fussy way. There's no ceremony here, no pomp and circumstance. His watch is over, and so Captain America does the one thing he’s never done before; something for himself. Or to put it another way, Captain America disappears into the past. Steve Rogers sits at the lake and waits for his friends in the present. And of course this moment takes place by a lake side. These characters have superhero code names, sure but all three men are knights at heart.

Which brings us to Sam Wilson. A man so fundamentally decent and kind that his first words when he’s visited in prison in Civil War are to ask how his last opponent is. Even here you see it, where he instinctively treats Steve like a patient. Ask what happened, see how he is, let him speak.  Just like Steve himself does with the therapy group at the start. Captain America, reminding himself how to be a good man by emulating one of the people who taught him and who will succeed him. The same tune, played in a different key 

Then Steve hands over the shield, and its Anthony Mackie’s turn to hand in his best work. He perfectly captures Sam’s combination of dawning realization, deliberate ignorance and sudden, almost crushing honor. You can see him stand a little straighter when he puts the shield on just like when Peter is 'knighted' in Infinity War. You can hear the strain in his voice when he promises to do his best and see the unfettered joy and pride on Steve's face when he accepts. Captain America stands down. Captain America rises up. On your left no longer. Go get 'em, Sam.

Avengers: Endgame is in cinemas now and probably now...And now...And, there are a lot of screenings, is what I'm saying.
Alien The Play Full Show North Bergen NJ High School 4K
North Bergen NJ High School staged a production of Alien. ALIEN. Ridley Scott noticed and sent them a genuinely lovely message and some money for an encore. Sigourney Weaver went to see them. The entire production was recorded. These kids RULE.

So How's Work?

Short weeks LIE! They have coshes and blackjacks and other old timey thug weapons and they pound you with them while yelling about how the weekend is nearly here already!

Work's good, thanks for asking. Have a list:
  • I have had one of two super exciting phone conversations about immensely exciting projects. It went REALLY well. Fingers crossed.
  • Audio Project 1 is going to be submitted very shortly. When I can announce that, OH BOY, there will be some serious announcing done.
  • Audio Project 2 has been re-ignited. Let's see what happens.
  • New column the first is in drafts and will be live the next time we speak.
  • Likewise new Not The Fox News, you know I do that right?
  • Every Hungry Thing's zero draft is very much a zero draft
  • The Icarus Thread's first draft is going well. 
  • The After The War core text is complete! I got to write some really fun spooky off-world archaeology for it. Now is the time for more edits and some fun audio for it.
  • Viable Paradise application is on deck for this month. 

I am undoubtedly forgetting things but that's what's at the top of my brain right now. ONWARD!

So Where Can We Find You This Week?

At SciFi Bulletin On my blog!

And of course, here's my Ko-Fi.

Signing Off

Another espresso week, short and SUPER intense. But intense in some really good ways and look! Here we are at the end of it, once again. Good job, everyone.

You want podcasts? We got 'em! Check Escape Artists podcasts and for a more personal touch the Official KennerStuart Instagram Page, home to a rolling photo log of our crime fighting, gnocchi eating daily lives. 'Crime' in this instance meaning 'work' and 'gnocchi' meaning 'delicious potato pasta'.

Oh and if you had fun with the newsletter this week, please consider buying me a coffee. As Brooklyn Nine-Nine put it, my brain does need its fast juice

Be nice to yourselves this week okay? You're worth it. 

Playing us out this week is Thomas Benjamin Wild Esq. You can find his work here and here and you can find out just how joyous chirpy old timey profanity can be below because this?
Is a Full Lid.
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