I’m skipping quickly over another chapter that doesn’t have much of interest besides revealing that post-zombie Russia is now a “Holy Empire”, this being one of three things countries can be in the near future along with Federations and New Republics. The chapter after that opens in Barbados and talks more about how the carribean is an economic hot zone because the various island nations were able to mostly avoid zombies…somehow. We were told before that they can cross oceans and that infected ships were a vector to transport them around the world, but apparently none of that was a threat to small island countries with lots of hard to defend coastline.Read More
I’ve been playing a lot of Mario Maker 2 for the Nintendo Switch. Here are some levels I made.
Airship Infestation - YLK-8W6-5HF
A fleet of airships has been infested with dangerous spiky bois! Can you survive to the end? Short and slightly tricky.
Mysterious Pipe World - MCV-9K3-WJG
Enter the mysterious world of pipes and uncover the many wonder contained therein.
One small step for a plumber - 0MW-TPQ-XGF
A hitorically accurate recreation of the Apollo 11 mission. Defeat the low-orbit space turtles that guard the upper atmosphere and dodge lunar squid to plant your flag.
Have you been making Mario levels? Leave your level codes in the comments if you have!
If you’ve done more than glance at anime over the last thirty years, you’ve probably noticed two prominent genres: magical girl, represented in the west by Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura (released in English as “Cardcaptors” in an extremely ill-fated attempt to turn this into a show that would appeal to boys) and mecha or giant robot shows, known to westerners due to…a whole lot of things, but if you were watching anime during the late 90s/early 2000s boom years then you probably saw Gundam Wing before anything else.
These genres have been around for a very long time. They’ve become codified and stocked with tropes and cliches. They’re been deconstructed and reconstructed multiple times over. But what happens if you slam them together??? Well, you get Granbelm.Read More
It’s anime time!
I used to be fairly regular about lightly covering every new season of anime as it started, but a combination of my Brain Problems and a few successive seasons with not a lot of interest put the breaks on that. This season is stuffed full of interesting looking shows, so I’ve decided to dive back in.
This time I’m splitting it up into seperate posts covering one or two series each, as my aformentioned Brain Issues are quite bad at the moment and it’s probably going to take me a while to write about everything I want to cover. This delivers a greater volume of content to you, the loyal customer. Thank you for your continuing patronage.
First up, it’s:Read More
The constant push and pull between my attempts at productivity and my brain problems continues!
With the arrival of the summer, my neurological symptoms have gotten worse again (heat and light exacerbate them to no end) and I’m also on a new treatment for at least the next four and a half months that seems to be throwing everything out of whack. The upshot of this is that I don’t have a whole lot of energy for blogging (or anything else) at the moment.
My current plan is to very slowly write a few more World War Z posts (it turns out most of the content I wanted to talk about is in the first half of the book), and then after that I think I’m going to have to stop committing to ongoing post series; I come up with them when my condition is at a low point, and then inevitably it picks up again and knocks me over a few weeks or months later. I’d prefer not to leave things unfinished, so it’s probably best to not start long-term projects at the moment.
(I realize that two and a half years is a long time to come to this stunning revelation, but chronic illness doesn’t come with an instruction manual).
So what is this blog going to be used for going forward?
Probably a lot of one-off reviews and other things that occur to me randomly. The “let’s read” format is just too energy intensive right now, as it requires something resembling research (if you can believe that) and my memory issues mean that I have to keep re-reading parts of whatever book I’m covering in case I forget the story.
But perhaps let’s read content doesn’t have to go away entirely! There have been mysterious rumblings recently about the third Kingkiller Chronicle book maybe, possibly appearing next year-ish, possibly maybe. That’s gotten me thinking about the old Kvothe posts that made me Internet Famous on my old blog. I previously expressed dissatisfaction with them and tried to re-formulate them into a series of long-form essays, which proved to be too much work, but lately I’ve been kicking around the idea of just porting them over here directly, with some of the “humor” and other content I now dislike trimmed off and some minor clean-up work done. Basically a director’s (blogger’s?) cut, if you will.
To be clear, I’m not actually committing to this: it would still take a level of effort that might be currently beyond me, and I’m not entirely sure it’s an idea worth pursuing. Leave a comment if that sounds like something you’d be interested in. I might do one or two as a test run at some point and see how people respond.
Another topic I have my eye on is opinion and politics writing. I’m sure you’re all aware that there’s a lot of…”noteworthy” things happening globally right now, and since I’m a self-aggrandizing blowhard I always get the urge to comment on those things. Some people didn’t like it when I went off about Trump or whatever on my old blog (because they couldn’t handle the truth), but thanks to the Power Of Squarespace I can make as many blogs as I want on the same domain so maybe I’ll spin up a seperate one for my politics ramblings.
There’s one more blog endeavour I’ve been considering, which is guest posts. I’m paying for the domain to this site every month but not always putting it to a whole lot of use, so I’d like to offer a platform for other people to submit content. Again, I’m not announcing my intention to start doing this right now—there’ll be a seperate post with the details sometime in the future if I do decide to pull the trigger on it—but I’m bringing it up here to gauge responses to the idea. This site has a tiny readership, but it does have a readership, which is more than most people just starting out have access to. I’m particularly interested in the idea of hosting minority perspectives and criticism.
Seperate from the blog, I’ve been trying to use some of my unlimited free time (for those who don’t know, I can’t currently work) to learn new skills. This is something I have to be really careful with because it’s easy to exhaust myself in a way that seriously impairs my day to day functioning, but I do like to try it when I can in order to be in a better position vis a vis job oppurtunities when I eventually recover. One of the skills I’ve had my eye on for a while is learning how to produce and edit videos, in order to potentially get in on that sweet Youtube audience that’s been eclipsing blogs for the last, uh, decade and change.
Once more with feeling: this is not a promise of future content, I’m not going to launch a Youtube channel next month. It’s just something I’d like to take some tentative steps towards over the rest of the year. To that end, if anyone has links to good beginner resources (or would even be potentially open to letting me bounce questions off them if the need arises), it would be appreciated.
Lastly, I want to thank everyone who’s been following my internet ramblings from all the way back in the Kvothe days to now, through the dry spells caused by my medical issues these last two and a half years. At some point I intend to take some steps towards actually growing the readership, but for the moment I kind of like my cosy little blog nook with a small audience. Here, have a dog photo as a reward:
E3! 2019! It happened! Like last year! Let's talk about it!
Expectations were low for the show this year. Sony, one of the Big Three, announced ahead of time that they were going to skip it entirely, and with the next generation of consoles coming we're officially in the liminal space where not a lot of games get announced since developers are all making stuff for the new hardware that they can't talk about yet.
Maybe it's because my expectations were so low, but I found this year's E3 more satisfying than the last several. There wasn't a whole lot actually new, but we got better looks at exciting projects and it's become clear that the first quarter of next year is going to be absurdly stacked with promising-looking games.Read More
We're now on the next part of the book, ominously titled "BLAME". This is the part where Max Brooks rails against various people and institutions he doesn't like, through the medium of depicting them reacting poorly to the zombie apocalypse. It's exactly as dull and uninteresting as it sounds.Read More
I've written before about how I'm a big (but not uncritical) fan of Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. If I were to have a pop cultural "thing" akin to Star Wars or Harry Potter like lots of other people have, this would be it. It was hugely formative for me and has massively influenced everything I've ever written.
I also run the premier trailer analysis website on the internet. Since HBO just put out a longer teaser for the first season of the BBC's big-budget TV adaptation, these two interests are now dovetailing nicely. Let's get out our alethiometers and dive in!
Many people think that only Stephen King can write Stephen King books. This makes sense at first glance--his name is right there on the covers, after all--but in fact, anyone can write a Stephen King novel or short story.
It's true! By following these simple rules, you too can create stories about dysfunctional people getting eaten by monsters.Read More
Over the last few years, I've featured a variety of content on this blog. We've covered political thriller, zombies, Star Wars, even Harry Potter! But I know my loyal fans have had one burning question in thier hearts: Ronan, how is Game of Thrones going to end?
Now that there are three episodes left in the entire series, I'm here to tell you. No, I don't have insider knowledge*, but these 100% accurate predictions are guarenteed to come true. Trust me.
*Fun fact: I did actually have insider knowledge of a major spoiler from a previous season, almost a full year before it leaked online through other sources, but I never spilled the beans in order to maintain my flawless record of journalistic integrity, and also to avoid getting someone fired,.
(Spoilers for the entire series up to the third episode of the last season, and I guess the last three in the extremely unlikely even that I'm actually right)Read More
Grab your popcorn and strap yourselves in, because Fictional Max Brooks' Wild World Tour is still in Israel, and this time we're covering the Israel-Palestine conflict. It...sure is a chapter!
(Note: I intended to post the next Oscar Debate this week (it's about BlackKklansman!), but I've been a bit under the weather and haven't been able to get that post together. Instead, I pulled up something that's been sitting on my hard drive since early last year and polished it off. Enjoy!)
Living in Ireland, I watch a lot of British TV shows. Because what am I going to do, watch stuff made here? PFFFT.
I also, like a large proportion of the world's population, regularly unhinge my media-jaw and consume vast quantities of American entertainment. The differences between the two are deeply-baked and striking; for example, serious “prestige” TV series (as opposed to soap operas, sitcoms and things like Doctor Who) in Britain tend to be extremely short, running four to six episodes per season and frequently having no more than two or three seasons at most. Often they don't even get that, being conceived from the beginning as a discrete story with no intention of continuation once the initial batch of episodes is over.
This makes Line of Duty something of an anomaly. A relatively big-budget police drama produced by the BBC, it feels very much like something that was intended to be short-lived, with the first season telling a stand-alone story and the next two forming a distinct arc with a definitive climax and end-point. But the show was unexpectedly, wildly popular and was renewed multiple times; a fifth season is currently airing, with a sixth expected some time in 2021.
Unfortunately, it might have been better if the show had stuck to the British formula and ended early. Today we're going to look at each of the first four seasons seperately and pin-point where it all went wrong.Read More
Our intrepid narrator has arrived in Barbados, which is now part of the "West Indies Federation", in order to interview his latest subject. But first, we get to witness a world-changing piece of technology, described in a surprisingly flippant way:
I saw Captain Marvel, the latest frontier in the Marvel Extended Beach House Fund. It's gotten what you could call "mixed" reviews (81% on Rotten Tomatoes, but 65% on the more granular Metacritic), which instantly dampened by expectations since I apply a 20% reduction to the critic score of any Marvel movie (the elusive and mysterious Ronan Factor).
Well, surprise: I fucking loved Captain Marvel. It's now hands-down my favourite MCU movie, beating out last year's Infinity War. To explain why, I have prepared a rambling, unstructured (spoiler-free!) list of thoughts.Read More
Out framing story this time is kind of strange. Taking place in THE AMAZON RAINFOREST, BRAZIL, fictional Max Brooks arrives at a secret settlement built by an indigenous tribe who survived the zombie apocalypse because they build houses suspended in trees. I have no idea if this is based on a real culture, although they may have been inspired by these people.