Author: mlc

Review: PKD’s Unfinished Sequel to TMITHC

PKD's Unfinished Sequel

I finally had a chance to read the two mysterious chapters of a scrubbed sequel to PKD’s The Man in the High Castle. I finished them a few days weeks ago, but their mark has yet to fade from the recesses of my mind. While I understand why he never finished it, I wish there was more. 

The chapters were accompanied by an essay and a fictional blurb about Hawthorn Abendsen.

Table of Contents

Naziism and The High Castle (1964) is an eye opener into the mind of PKD. He asks pointed questions about human nature and discusses Nationalism—no one is immune from falling into it. The essay reminds me of a quote ages ago when Season 2 of High Castle had just aired:

I think we have is to humanize Nazis. If you indulge the fantasy that they were not human, then nothing is learned. This is human beings that did this. It is only humans that are capable of inhumanity.

Rufus Sewell on portraying his character, John Smith (2016). 

Reading it (and the subsequent chapters) made certain aspects of the show much more clear to me. I wish I could properly put into words how it has effected me, but I can’t seem to figure it out. 

The chapters are well worth a read to anyone who is interested and is a fan of TMITHC.

Mild Spoilers Ahead!

Unlike the novel, which focuses on the Pacific States and Neutral Zone, the chapters follow Hermann Göring and Rudolph Wegener (Rudy!). 

Göring’s chapter introduces us to the Die Nebenwelt. He is skeptical of it, disinclined to believe anything—anything can be forged, right? It was interesting to follow it from his perspective, as vile as it may be. He’s not the obsessed psychopath Himmler was in the show; they (and he) took a more cautious approach to everything.  

Rudy’s chapter involves him being taken to Heydrich who sort of strong-arms him to get close to Die Nebenwelt and spy for him (I have no doubt in my mind that the scene where Heydrich sends him to assassinate Hitler came from this chapter). 

As I said before, I wish there were more!

5/5 Stars

24 Days of Art

Congrats on Another Successful Orbit of the Sun, Earth!

Join me in congratulating Earth for making another successful orbit around the sun. Good job, Earth!

I made up my own challenge and decided to do 24 days of art last month. The goal: draw/paint something or work on an unfinished piece for the first 24 days of December, and I am happy to report that I DID IT! If you remember my post in May when I lamented over the fact that I wasn’t as prolific as I used to be, 24 days of art helped me overcome that difficulty.

With out further adieu, here is the result of December’s challenge.

2021 Grasshopper Awards

Hello everyone! I know it’s been about six months since I’ve posted here, and I am going to blame it on the prolonged-neverending-braintomush-pandemic because…well, it’s true! But this post isn’t about me ranting into the void; it’s about the annual grasshopper awards! Grab your popcorn and get ready for my favorites of 2021; I’ve added a few categories!

2021 Grasshopper Awards
2021 Grasshopper Awards

Best Discovery of 2021

This goes to a YouTuber I stumbled across who has provided me hours of vivid storytelling. He’s my go-to Thing In The Background As I Draw. If you like the strange, dark & mysterious, MrBallen has you covered. 

Thank you for keeping me company while I sketch, draw, and paint, MrBallen! 

Best Discovery of 2021: MrBallen YouTube Channel
Best Discovery of 2021: MrBallen YouTube Channel

Best Show of 2021

This award goes to my favorite show that aired this year (we all know what my all-time favorite is!). 

The Expanse. 

Season 5 (and now 6) keeps me on the edge of my seat, and if you follow me on various platforms–or have seen me in real life–chances are you know of a certain, growing obsession of the Mars variety. I love everything about this show except for the fact that we get fewer episodes this final season. I’ve talked about The Expanse before, so without further adieu, thank you to the cast & crew for hours of entertainment and sparking my imagination! 

BestShow of 2021: The Expanse
BestShow of 2021: The Expanse

Best Movie of 2021

This one goes to 1917 (with a huge thanks to Delta over the summer, lol! I take full advantage of catching up on films when I fly). This one did not disappoint. It is a thrilling ride from the moment it starts. The way it was filmed–a continuous shot–is part of what makes this movie so gripping. If you are a history buff or have an interest in WWI, 1917 is a must see. 

Best Movie of 2021: 1917
Best Movie of 2021: 1917

Best Wardrobe Find of 2021

As I mentioned earlier, The Expanse awakened a certain, dusty red obsession in me. I found this shirt when looking for something else, and I had to by it. I mean look at it. It captures everything badass about Mars and how much I want to go there. 

Thank you to Everyday Astronaut for the hard work you do to bring us your live streams and videos. I’ve worn this shirt more times than I can count. 

Best Wardrobe Find 2021: Everyday Astronaut
Best Wardrobe Find 2021: Everyday Astronaut

Best Vintage Find of 2021

I’ll give you a moment to guess. It feels like eons since I bought the winner of this award, but it was, indeed, in 2021. 

…Time’s up! This one goes to the beautiful purses from the set of Man in the High Castle I got early in the year. 

Best Vintage Find of 2021: High Castle Purses
Best Vintage Find of 2021: High Castle Purses

Best of the Best 2021

This is for everyone who kept me company, laughed with me, or made me smile—both in person and online.

Thank you for making the pandemic a bit easier to handle. 

Best of the Best in 2021: You!
Best of the Best in 2021: You!

*There is no Best Book category this year as I have yet to finish reading any of the multitude of books I started.

Bring May Flowers

We are five months into 2021 (nearly six!), so it is time for a midyear check in. Have I kept the resolutions I made in January? Have I created new goals?

Bring May Flowers

Writing and Sketching

I’m lumping every resolution involving writing and drawing into one category because I’d end up repeating myself otherwise. Here’s a quick summary of the lofty goals I had coming into 2021.

Drawing – get back to pre-pandemic levels of content (this includes High Castle projects).

Writing – finish writing Alice or Metropolis

I counted the number of drawings I posted on Instagram since January, and it is a tiny 24. Am I surprised by this? Nope. There is something to be said about the pandemic phenomenon popularly dubbed languishing. In my case, it was born out of the sameness of every day. It feels like a blur stretched across the vast expanse of space and time. Creativity thrives off of invigoration and the small, random happenstances that made pre-pandemic days stand out from each other. 

Am I fighting this? Of course, but I’m not going to lie and put on a fake smile and say it’s an easy battle. It’s not. But I’ll be damned if I don’t at least try, even if it means just writing a single sentence at a time or sketching a wobbly line. Tiny steps toward progress are much better than doing nothing at all. 

A Much Needed Morale Boost

Written two weeks ago – I feel that this is worth sharing

I went downtown today. It felt like venturing out into the wilderness. The adventure, even the mundane bits as I flashed my day pass to the driver and stepped onto the bus, boosted my mood and made me forget about everything for a while. I don’t know if it was enough to wake my creative senses, but it helped my overall state of being. I sincerely hope we have a swift return back to normalcy soon. 

Working Out

Oddly enough, this is the one goal that I’ve kept. How did that happen!? Is this some sort of parallel universe? I kid, I kid!

I didn’t think it was possible or that I’d have the motivation, but here I am working out on the elliptical machine three days a week and wanting to up the ante. 

The single most important tip I have for those thinking about picking up a workout routine is to daydream. You won’t feel the pain. Trust me. Live that extra life where you’re flying Starfuries, battling Thanos, or visiting the stars! 


Other News

Seriously Geeky Sundays

Heather announced last week that this month marks the end of Seriously Geeky Sundays. It had a great run, and I am happy to have taken part in it. I met some wonderful people, so I just want to thank Heather for creating it and coming up with new prompts every week. 

Heather’s Announcement

SGS: 6 Must Watch Sci-Fi Shows

It’s time for another fun filled Seriously Geeky Sunday! I know I’ve been sporadic lately–you can blame Pandemic Brain for that one. I’m ever so slowly getting myself back up to pre-covid creativity levels. I painted a mural in my bathroom last weekend, and let me just say that it was a much needed reprieve from everything.

Seriously Geeky Sundays: Science Fiction

And now for today’s theme, which is near and dear to my heart: Science Fiction. I’ve been into the genre for as long as I can remember. I’ll be focusing on six shows that I don’t normally spotlight on here, including my current obsession. 

Let’s dive in!

23rd  – Six on a Sunday: Science Fiction

Starting new this year one week a month will just have a theme and no questions. It’s in the spirit of memes that are no longer active and to give us all a relaxing week once a month. The theme can be answered anyway you wish and there is no right or wrong answer. If the subject was ‘science fiction movies’ you could discuss your favourites or the upcoming movies you’re looking forward to. As long as there are six of them you’re good!

The Expanse – MCRN 

First up is my current obsession, The Expanse: more specifically Mars and the MCRN. If you haven’t watched this show yet, you are missing out. It throws you right into the action as you follow Holden and crew throughout their adventures. I remember I became obsessed with the MCRN (Martian Congressional Republic Navy) the first time one of their ships appeared (The Donnager).

I love their authoritative, militaristic society (what can I say; I like that sort of thing in fiction). I cannot wait to see more of the splinter group headed by Sauveterre in Season 6 (Before I get ahead of myself, I just want to note that I haven’t read the books yet). I I know that there is an epic MCRN villain named Duarte, whom I’m looking forward to seeing. 

The Mandalorian

I loved this show. Everything about it captivated me, the music, costumes, the characters, and the simplicity of it. I kept calling it “The Witcher in space” because it follows a similar adventure/quest of the week format. That format is refreshing in today’s era of many complicated plot lines involving dozens of characters, some of whom forgotten and never resolved.

The Mandalorian: Baby Yoda

Altered Carbon

It only ran two seasons, but it’s one of those little known shows on Netflix that is uniquely different. It had its own niche cyberpunk charm. I highly recommend it!

Synopsis From Netflix:

More than 300 years in the future, society has been transformed by new technology, leading to human bodies being interchangeable and death no longer being permanent. Takeshi Kovacs is the only surviving soldier of a group of elite interstellar warriors who were defeated in an uprising against the new world order. His mind was imprisoned for centuries until impossibly wealthy businessman Laurens Bancroft offers him the chance to live again. Kovacs will have to do something for Bancroft, though, if he wants to be resurrected. Bancroft’s request of Kovacs is to solve a murder — Bancroft’s. “Altered Carbon” is based on Richard K. Morgan’s cyberpunk noir novel of the same name.

Altered Carbon - Netflix Series


If you enjoyed The Man in the High Castle and the multiverse within, you’ll enjoy Dark. It weaves in an out of time through alternate realities involving the same small town. A mysterious cave is at the center of it all. Two opposing forces are at work–I won’t drop spoilers because this is a show where everything has a purpose and story.

Watch it in its original language (German) with subtitles.

The Orville 

I remember rolling my eyes at the first trailer when it came out ages ago. I thought it would be just another stupid comedy and shove a bunch dumb jokes down our throats with every single awful trope that ever existed–Oh, how wrong I was! I am so thankful I gave it a chance. It’s one of my favorite sci-fi shows in recent years. If you love the 90s era of Star Trek (The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager), you’ll love The Orville

The comedy is PERFECT! It’s on point and fits into the story (which is rare in television). 

The Orville
Please let there be a Season 3!

Falcon and The Winter Soldier

Out of the three Disney+ shows we watched (WandaVision, The Mandalorian, and Falcon and the Winter Soldier), this one was my favorite. It was the show I cared least about going into Disney+, but ended up being my favorite. It falls under the genre of military sci-fi, which is probably one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much. 

It was wonderful to see an actual hero with a kind heart being the lead for once instead of a snarky anti-hero who does horrible things, yet constantly gets free passes. 

What they did with Walker was fantastic. I fully expected them to drop the ball and turn him into a one-dimensional prick. He was a troubled soul, but deep down a good person. He cared deeply for Lamar, and was such an interesting character to follow. I’ll stop there in the name of spoilers. 

Falcon and The Winter Soldier
I’ve already pre-ordered the action figure