The Full Lid
7th February 2020

Welcome to The Full Lid, folks! Every week, on Friday around 5, you get a detailed breakdown from me of the fun pop culture stuff I've encountered this week. Conventions, movies, games, TV, food, music, it's all fair game for the Full Lid.

This month we're doing something a little different. Normally the interstitial stories are relevant fun stuff pulled from the Internet. For the next month 'relevant fun stuff' means Women In Horror Month. I love my home genre (and it is my home genre, just my bit tends to be a bit... spaceish) but I hate the 'NO GURLS' mentality that's so commonplace even now. WIHM gives us all a chance to not only discover great new creators but help others do the same.

So for the next month, I'll spotlight interesting female creatives in the field. Next week it'll be Youtubers. This this week, podcasts.

But first, contents!


Admiral Clancy Regrets
The Tundra Project
Adam Adamant Lives! Again!
The Disney+ Experiment Update
Signal Boost
Signing Off, Playing Out

Admiral Clancy Regrets

For some reason YouTube just will not embed this scene despite the fact I can link to it three times in one sentence just fine. Cheeky fuckers.

Anyway, let's talk about Admiral Clancy and how she's part of the best scene in Picard to date, not necessarily a villain and a perfect embodiment of, as Tasha Yar once yelled, what Starfleet is, what it represents. 

We meet Clancy when Picard goes seeking help. He enters diffidently and with respect for their difficult past, explaining the following:
  • flesh and blood synths are real and connected somehow to Lt. Commander Data;
  • one was murdered on Starfleet Academy Campus;
  • it's all the Romulans' fault, oh and they've infiltrated every level of society;
  • he needs a ship to go somewhere he doesn't know to find the other synth before the Romulans; and
  • he's aware it's awkward him being an Admiral so is fine being busted down to Captain on reactivation.
As the clip shows, it doesn't go well. Sufficiently unwell in fact that Clancy is now part of a YouTube video called 'Picard vs Bitch Admirals' because it turns out that men who really truly are terrified of everything often have YouTube accounts.

More pertinent to us here is the fact that this scene is a perfect judo throw in narrative form. We've been inside Picard's circle, we've seen everything he's seen. We buy in completely and the weight of the man's years of service only drives the point home harder. All he needs is a ship, how hard can it be?

When Clancy swears, it's impressive. When she points out his arrogance, it floors him and us alike. Picard has a colossal sense of his own importance. He has to, it's what got him (and us) here. But when Clancy speaks up she's not just talking on behalf of the Fleet, she's talking on behalf of its officers.

Imagine being someone else in Starfleet. Imagine watching the Enterprise inch into drydock, or watching Picard return to duty after coordinating the Battle of Wolf 359 for the Borg. Imagine serving in Starfleet through two Borg assaults, the Dominion War, the Romulan supernova and the loss of Mars.

Then, imagine being a member of Starfleet, watching it's best and brightest walking away in disgust and knowing he either blames you or you aren't strong enough to follow him.

Bridget Clancy isn't a bad human being. She's probably not even a bad Starfleet officer. But when the favorite son sweeps in after throwing what, from her point of view, is a tantrum, she reacts the way a lot of us would. This, at last, is a chance to land a shot in retaliation. It's a petty reason but it's one which gives us a 360 degree walkaround of the issues at the core of Picard and, crucially, helps the man himself become less grounded. He knows Starfleet won't help him. He knows they'll tar his crew with the same brush. So he goes to his other crew, the people as damaged as he is. That's a massive narrative shift for such a small scene but boy does it work.

That's even before you get to Clancy reporting in and its delicious ambiguity. You could see her briefing her superiors as a co-conspirator running to her cell leader. I see it as someone who has taken an easy shot and... it left a bad aftertaste. Something in the old man's words tickles, something tells her to listen to him. So she files the report up the chain and lets someone else worry about it for once. Not a villain, just human and sometimes that's all you can be. Not evil, just exhausted, sad and frightened.
Clancy, played with exhausted venom by Ann Magnuson, is contemporary Starfleet in a bottle. Three separate, nearly incalculable waves of loss in two decades. And that's before you get to the mammoth 'dare to be great' moment of the Romulan evacuation, the shattering tragedy of Mars, and the fact that Starfleet ultimately chose not to be great and has yet to recover.

Starfleet at its finest has always been an organization that goes in first and asks questions once it's helped. Seeing them turn like this isn't easy, but it's also not surprising. This isn't villainy, it's exhaustion. This isn't cruelty, it's terror and panic and PTSD shaped like a career. That doesn't make it right or even forgivable, but it does give context that draws you up short.
And that brings us to this meeting of the annual ExoSuit Enthusiast Club.

These are the main cast of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare or, as it's called in this household, Battlestar Guest Appearance.

It would be easy to look at the SCAR (seriously, that's the acronym) team in Infinite Warfare as the end point for Clancy’s Starfleet. They are entirely martial in outlook, fiercely competent in every form of combat and beleaguered in the exact way Starfleet no doubt feels.

As Commander Nicholas Reyes (performed by Brian Bloom, surely one of the all time MVPs of video games acting), one of the very first things that happens to you is the worst kind of battlefield promotion. With Earth’s Navy is decimated by an attack from separatist colonies, you find yourself the most senior officer still standing on the Retribution (seriously, that’s it’s name), one of two ships still active. The weight of duty and expectation is on you from all sides whether it's Marine Staff Sergeant Omar (David Harewood, a man incapable of turning in bad work) or Jamie Gray Hyder as your fantastically intense wingwoman, Salter. You're not the right man in the right place at the right time, you're the last adult left alive in the room. It gives the game some welcome tension, and a lot of your actions more weight than the distinctly railroad'y game structure deserves as a result.

You have free reign, within about ten missions, to travel the solar system causing trouble for Kit Harrington’s army of motiveless space Nazis, many of whom have Russian names. Hilarity, bloodshed and just AMAZING quantities of heroic sacrifice ensue. I know I’m busting on it a bit here and honestly it’s deserved. This is a game where you’re told ‘I’ll see you in hell’ twice inside an hour by two different people and a lot of the dialogue isn’t much better than that. The ending, where you progressively lose more and more of your now tiny crew storming an impossible location, has pathos to it at least. In contrast, the opening is just a bicep in search of a flex, a frown in search of a Battlestar Galactica episode to nest inside.

But it’s only as the game completes that you come to realize what’s going on. Almost the entire cast is lost in the final assault and, while the ending is maddeningly brief, the sacrifice hangs over the back of the game It’s then you realize that the UNSA and their SCAR teams, in fact aren't where Starfleet is heading, but where it’s been. UNSA’s survivors have the luxury of a future. Starfleet, as we see them in Picard, have the obligation to map the future and just don't have the strength.  

Admiral Clancy and the Starfleet she represents have done terrible things but are not explicitly evil. Their crime is also their tragedy; they know this. UNSA have the 'luxury' of recent trauma. Starfleet have the complacency of time and, somehow, refusing to die. That complacency has made them unwilling to face the corruption in their midst but only as a group. Starfleet the idea is curdled. Starfleet the individual is anything but. Because of Admiral Clancy and that call she places.

I think the show is already seeding its finale (I have STRONG suspicions about the plot but, whole other newsletter). I think Clancy is a big part of that and she is in the end going to come through. Reporting Picard’s request despite her disgust shows that. Looked at one way it’s an underling reporting in. Looked at another it’s the flames of duty and honor, guttering at least once more. I don't know if Picard would approve, but she wouldn't buy another drink as long as she was on the Retribution, that's for damn sure.

Infinite Warfare finishes with the refrain 'peace to the fallen'. I'd add, in Clancy and Starfleet's case 'and peace to the future'. Their moment is coming. I hope they're ready.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is out now and pretty cheap. Trust me, you could do worse than ten hours of Space Varric in your life.

Picard is airing on Amazon Prime in the UK on Fridays. I may in fact be watching this week's episode as you read this.
Women in Horror Month Spotlight: Podcasts

One of the absolute best horror audio dramas out there. The White Vault will keep you guessing from the moment you hit play and never let up.
K.A. Statz's scripts are exceptional.

New reader? Find The Full Lid archive here.
Follow this link to Boldly Go to my ko-fi.


The Tundra Project

This is The Tundra Project. Put together by friend and evil genius Zalia, it's a collection of fan art, fiction and pod fiction about my Magnus Archives character, Peter Lucas.

That sounded nice and professional, right? Great. *deep breath*

It’s ALL THIS GOOD. Artwork, a zine (A ZINE. Y'ALL!) and dozens of heartfelt messages and pieces of fiction thanking me for playing Peter. It...I can't describe it. I can't describe what receiving an item like this makes me feel. So, of course I'm going to try.

I am professionally invisible and that is often both a choice and a necessity. A journalist has to be transparent to let the story be told. A podcaster is usually a disembodied voice behind a microphone, an RPG writer never normally gets name-checked and sometimes not even on the book. Sometimes laboring in the dark is useful. Sometimes it feels like being overlooked.

This, and this is also a #LonelyEyes gag as well being true, is feeling seen.

I am an actor the same way Henry Rollins is; enthusiastically and with almost no training. The astounding scripts of Alex and Jonny, the production genius of Lowri and Alex's on-the-spot direction all combined with that raw enthusiasm to create a character who is both instantly likable and instantly disconcerting. He's the hero of his own story. He's the terrible old man. He's the love of Elias Bouchard's lives. Not that he'd ever say that out loud.


Peter was great fun to play and... perhaps may be again. He's my oft-cultivated outsider survival instinct taken to it's logical conclusion. A man made monstrous by his own hubris and inability to see how big the game he's playing truly is. I miss him, just a little. Works of art, and kindness, like these remind me others do too. They also make me think that somewhere, Peter knows that.


And remember, that's what we want.

So, to Zalia and everyone who contributed to The Tundra Project, my awestruck, heartfelt eternal gratitude. Thank you all so, so much.

The Magnus Archives is available now and is one of the best horror podcasts in the world. Go listen.

Editor's note: Many of these pieces and much more Peter Lucas and #LonelyEyes fan art can be found on Tumblr. You're the best, Zalia.
Women in Horror Month Spotlight: Podcasts

An acting masterclass, six women with very different reasons to want to attend it and a spooky old house. What could go wrong? Nothing because this show is GREAT. Creators Gemma Amor, SH Cooper, Victoria Juan, Allison Brandt, Charlotte Noruo, Desdymona Howard are all absolutely on point and the show is crammed full of surprises.

Adam Adamant Lives! Again!

Regular readers of The Lid will know my fondness for audio drama in all it's forms and TV drama in all its oddest forms. It's a surprise then to admit this is my first exposure to legendarily odd short-run series Adam Adamant. However, this is by far the best possible introduction to the show.

Written by Guy Adams, it's a whip-smart, fiercely clever and deeply kind modification of the original idea. Adam is an Edwardian adventurer, who finds himself in '60s London. Confused and traumatized, he falls under the care of Georgina Jones, a doctor and private detective. Played with clenched teeth aplomb and Paul Darrow'ian elegance by Blake Ritson, Adam is a surprisingly convivial, and on occasion cheerfully violent man. He lived to protect the country in the past and does so again now. Just... on more of a level playing field than he ever thought...

These scripts are a perfect demonstration of why Guy Adams is one of the best authors not enough people know about. 'What is This Place?' sets the world up and takes full advantage of format to set an episode largely in Adam's head. 'Death Has A Thousand Faces' is an Avengers-esque mystery that leads to a ghost train, the seaside and a charmingly horrifying murder. Finally 'Georgina Jones Dies!' brings everything down to a claustrophobic focus, as Adam struggles to prove himself innocent and Georgina alive.

That's a real gut punch of an episode, a mid-series (volume 2 arrives later this year) finale that restates and rebuilds the show in a profoundly exciting way. It also cements Adams' masterstroke; using Adam to address and comment on the changes in society at that time. Milly Thomas' Georgina is every bit his equal but gay and deeply persecuted for it. Adams, pulling double duty here as two-fisted Punch and Judy man Sims, plays the charming actor as an unusually emotionally honest Alfred to Ritson's Adam. None of them fit in the world. All of them want to make the world a better place anyway. Admiral Clancy would sympathize, as would Commander Reyes. But none of them make coffee like Sims...

This is open, touching writing and it gives Ritson some especially great stuff in the finale. His scenes with Adams crackle, as these two men who have similar reasons to be emotionally buttoned-down find wildly different ways to be anything but.

Oh and if you're worried about ladymurder, keep listening. Trust me.

Adam Adamant Lives! is the sort of thing only Big Finish could do and they've done it incredibly well. If you like daring adventurers, capes optional, sense of justice and style mandatory, you'll love this.

Adam Adamant Lives! Volume 1 is available now.
Women in Horror Month Spotlight: Podcasts

Janus Descending is one of those shows you need to come to cold. It's extraordinarily well-written, provides answers refreshingly quickly and has tremendous fun with narrative format. You will too, with Jordan Cobb's scripts always impressing.


I LOVE this photo. It was taken on the stage (actually an IMAX cinema screen) at PodUK's main auditorium. This was minutes before Marguerite, Kath, Kat and I performed Escape Artists Live (! optional). Three horror short stories, one linking narrative and the pleasing thwack of your sportsball metaphor of choice being hit. We NAILED it. So much that when Haggisbjorg told me it reminded him of The Twilight Zone I air punched. In my mind. But it was there.

Editor's note: It was not just in his mind.

The entire day was like that. Marguerite's Business 101 panel was crammed full of people and information and could have used a bigger time window. It's a brilliant presentation on a massive topic and one the industry needs to know more about. Likewise the Horror panel that closed the day out, featuring David Ault, Alexander J. Newall, Gemma Amor and myself was big on information, enthusiasm and fun. Like PodUK itself.

I get really hinky about the gap between the idea and the reality of genre as a community.  Far too often 'all welcome' means anything but that. At PodUK, it means what is says. Everyone's a listener, everyone's a fan, most people are creators. All enthusiastic, inspired and working on building what's next. It's an intense day but it's an inspiring one and one we all desperately needed. Like Kieron Gillen once said about Nine Worlds, this is a petri dish and you can watch the future grow there. The future of audio, right now, looks AMAZING.

Thanks to all the guests, staff, volunteers and attendees for a fantastic day. The Horror panel has been filmed and the live show recorded and I'll share links to both up once I have them.

The Disney+ Experiment Update

The Full Mouse approaches, dragging tattered remnants of workshopped titles!

Here's the deal, anyone who pays into my Ko-Fi until I get the Disney+ signup amount will be subscribed to a fortnightly(ish) new newsletter looking at the best, and weirdest, Disney+ has to offer.

Three weeks in we're at £45 so if you want to donate, in the immortal words of the best Russian navigator ever, now would be a good time.

Signal Boost

That's this week's Signal Boost, folks. If you have a project you'd like to see here, get in touch.

Signing Off / Playing Out

Made it to the end of the week, folks! We did it! Go celebrate!  In the meantime, check out the 2400+ free short stories covering science fiction, fantasy, horror and YA we have on the Escape Artists Podcast Network.

While you're doing that why not check out the Team KennerStuart Instagram  Currently there, Graham Linehan-enraging cookies, flowers galore and WE GOT ACTUAL FAN ART OH MY GOD IT'S SO COOL.

This work is produced for free. If you like what you read please consider dropping something in the tip jar. Thank you :).

The lights are off, the chairs are on the tables and it's time to go have a weekend. Go have FUN, folks. Fun is chronically under-rated and I am QUITE the fan.

To send you on your way, here is composer Denis McCarthy performing a solo piano rendition of the Deep Space Nine theme. It's called '3 a.m. at Quarks' and now you know, and knowing is half the battle?

Know what the other half is?
knowing this is a Full Lid.
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Agathon Towers · Cheapside Road · Reading, Berkshire RG1 7AG · United Kingdom

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