Mini reviews: Good Omens, Mythos, and Lock In

Caidyn's review (1)

Look, I love mini reviews. I’ve done these for classics and other books when I had something to say, but I didn’t have a lot to say. It just works out well so I don’t ramble on like some idiot while trying to make some huge point about a book that doesn’t have a lot to talk about.

Today, I have three mini reviews for you all, two books and one podcast, so let’s get this shit going. Continue reading

Podcast review: Heaven’s Gate

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(Caidyn)

4/5

TW: mass suicide and willing castration

I find “cults” interesting. (I’ll get to why I put that word in quotations in a moment.) I find their beliefs, their leaders, their followers, their operations, etc all fascinating. They captivate me and have since the Manson family. I read a huge book about Jim Jones and the path to Jonestown that was very impressive and fit my needs. I definitely thought about cults in the way that I’ve always been taught via the media.

Then, I took a course on New Religious Movements. We talked about Heaven’s Gate and other alien cults, but mainly this one. Because my professor wanted to challenge us and the way we thought. Before all of that, he explained to us what cult means in an academic way. Literally, it just means that it ascribes to the beliefs of a specific religion (i.e. Christianity) and then is a very different sect with different norms and beliefs.

That’s all it is.

No brainwashing. No mind control. Nothing.

That’s what most academics think about when they talk about cults. Now, some academics have tried to change it to the more modern/media inspired definition. But, I don’t think it works and I like the original definition best despite the connotation.

I really wish that this podcast had taken those definitions into account because while it was so even-handed when discussing the difficult sides of this religion (and I will call it a religion because that’s how people involved viewed and view it), it fell into the same trap of using the non-academic definition.

And, this podcast was super even-handed. It could have blasted Ti (Bonnie Nettles) and Do (Marshall Applewhite) and their beliefs and made a mockery of those involved. But it never forgot that real people with loved ones were still there. I loved being able to hear from old members who didn’t go to the next level (i.e. suicide) with the rest of the class because it gave such a unique insight into what was going on.

What this podcast comes down to, for me, was a way to help cement my thoughts that this wasn’t a cult in the modern sense. It was a cult in an academic sense, but everyone was there willingly. People left and did leave from its inception to when the tragedy happened. Everyone there wanted to be there. They genuinely believed Do because most of them were people who were religious seekers and already had been exposed to ideas like this. People who didn’t want to commit suicide didn’t and they left.

I definitely would recommend this podcast for those who want to know more about Heaven’s Gate. The religion’s website is also still up. It’s very interesting to look at and read articles off of, so if you’re interested the link is here. This podcast is great for those who know things about it already and those who know basically nothing besides the name, but it has a bias where it wants you to think about this as a cult in the non-academic sense.

Podcast review: The Fall of Rome

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(Caidyn)

4/5

Technically, I’m still listening to this so this is a little premature, but I think that my opinion is going to stay the same for the rest of the podcast.

After I got done with all the true crime and horror that I’ve been listening to, I decided to find something different. I wanted something historical. I have some podcasts I’m subscribed to about Tudor history, but I wasn’t really feeling that one. What caught me was that graphic, so I decided to do this one.

What really sets it apart is that Patrick Wyman, the host of the podcast, has a PhD in history. His dissertation was about ancient Rome and its fall. I mean, he knows his shit. He’s been entrenched in the data. Having written, basically, a thesis for my BA, I know exactly what he had to do and then he did ten times more of it. Basically, he’s a source I trust. (You can find this info on his LinkedIn page if anyone cares about my source.)

Each episode tackles a certain topic. The one I just finished was about the Huns. But, he also talks about Gaul (present day France), Britain, Africa and the Vandals, the Goths, the army, etc. He also wrote an article about gladiators and then read it on the podcast as a special edition. He also has interviews with different people on some more specialized topics. It’s a very in-depth look at his academic specialty.

Even better than that, he does this concisely. I’ve known professors who could ramble on for hours about those topics, but he takes the research he finds most pertinent and presents it in under an hour. Seriously. The longest these episodes run is 55 minutes.

The presentation is amazing as well. He’s honest about biases of his colleagues, shows where he stands, and also presents the other side to show why he doesn’t agree with it. He usually makes up a prototype character to follow throughout an episode as well. So, when he was talking about the Goths or Vandals, he made up someone based on the research and would do his best to show how they would have lived by using the research. It’s an informative and compelling way to tell a complex story.

I think the only real downside to this is that it can get a bit confusing if you’re not familiar with the topic and it can get dry if the topic he’s covering doesn’t interest you. That’s not a real downside, just a personal observation from someone who prefers spending time in the 1500-1600s.

Podcast review: Casefile

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(Caidyn)

4.5/5

This is an amazing podcast. It takes cases that you may or may not have heard of and tells them. Each episode has a bibliography that you can access free of charge through their website (which you can access by clicking the picture).

So, let me get into this. I found this after coming down from the horrible disappointment that was Serial Killers by Parcast. I was craving true crime, true crime that came without a bias to it and just presented the facts to me.

This hit the spot.

The host is anonymous (literally if you look it up, that’s what it says, and he is definitely Australian. So, you get that lovely accent reading these cases to you. Then, the cases aren’t ones that you’ve heard of. Many of them are foreign, usually Australian or from around Australia. It was refreshing to not hear so many American-centric crimes for once in my life. It was nice to hear about other parts of the world.

For me, the level of research that goes into every single episode is very apparent. I could tell that they knew the ins and outs of the case that they were presenting. Everything was presented well in every episode. Of course, there are stand out episodes that I have to mention.

Their three-part series about the Silk Road was absolutely fascinating. I had never heard of it and I was left wanting more, even though they covered every detail that they could. Another series of episodes, this time five parts, was the East Area Rapist/Original Nightstalker. Five parts, each over an hour long. The Moors Murders (three parts) was also an amazing series. There was an episode on the Catholic Mafia, as well.

Literally, as I scroll through the episode list, more and more stand out to me that I remember being amazing. That’s how good they are. Every episode is stunning and eye-opening in its own way. Before every episode, there’s a disclaimer to state that this deals with mature content (sometimes briefly saying what the content is if it’s a common trigger) and then directs you to the show notes if you need to talk to a crisis center.

All in all, a very good podcast that I would recommend to anyone interested in true crime.

Lore – The Podcast

(Caidyn)

4/5

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When I was a kid, I always found a way to convince my parents to let me sleep downstairs in the basement. Now, we never had a TV in our living room like most families. We keep ours in the basement. So, Fridays or Saturdays, I would convince them to let me sleep down there so I could watch one show.

What was that show?

Truth or Scare.

You don’t have to watch the whole thing, just around 30 seconds of it. This show was my shit. It basically took scary stories — haunted castles, weird creatures, hotels, etc — and had creepy music that combined with Michelle Trachtenberg’s really (to kid me) freaky voice. My mom remembers, to this day, me bursting outside and shouting about how I watched it all by myself and didn’t get scared.

There were more things like this, too. I also loved the shows Mystery Hunters (which Discovery Kids also did), Martin Mystery (a TV show also aired on Discovery Kids), and basically anything else. If you want links to some of this stuff, hit me up. I was young when I first watched a horror movie. I was around nine when I convinced my parents to let me go to The London Dungeon. If you don’t know what that is, Google it.

So, when Amazon came out with Lore last year, I got excited. But, I watched some of it and found it kind of dull and campy. Last month, I got bored of listening to audiobooks at work since I split my attention and find it hard to write meaningful reviews for all of you. Now I’m listening to podcasts.

Let’s just say I binged this podcast within three weeks. Over 80 episodes. And I binged it all.

I loved Aaron Mahnke’s voice. It was super soothing despite the creepy topics that he covered. Haunts, creatures, werewolves, animals, etc. Even though I loved his voice, I knew a lot of the lore he brought up because of my weird childhood interest in those things. That or just random research I did when I was curious after drinking a teensy bit too much and thinking of the fae or mermaids.

The music attached to the podcast really enhanced everything. It was beautiful music and fit with the soothing theme so well. It never got too creepy, although there were a few times where I felt sick to my stomach over something or had a chill go down my spine. Certainly doesn’t help that I work in a cave and have fears that he brought up.

Overall, I really enjoyed the podcast and can’t wait to listen to even more of it.