The Blind All-Seeing Eye of Gamergate

One of the bonus essays in my forthcoming Kickstarter-funded book Neoreaction a Basilisk.

One measures a circle starting anywhere, so let’s pick up where we left off. Vox Day, who got in on the ground floor, back when it was still called the Quinnspiracy, begins his description like this, in the first of two chapter fives:

In 2012, a fat and unattractive woman with blue hair and numerous piercings decided to play at being a ‘game designer’. She plugged forty thousand words into the Twine engine, a hypertext tool that allows people without any knowledge of programing to create interactive fiction games similar to Zork and other text adventures circa 1977, combined it with a ten-second piano loop, and called it a game.

It is ironic that the book should be called SJWs Always Lie, because he lies right there. He lies when he uses the same disaffected tone of factual declaration for “a hypertext tool that allows people without any knowledge of programming to create interactive fiction games similar to Zork and other text adventures circa 1977” and “a fat and unattractive woman with blue hair and numerous piercings,” as though these are both straightforward truths in the ...

Consider the Ray Gun: Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land

Because apparently it's podcast week here at Eruditorum Press, and creating new podcast threads is more fun for me than watching Firefly again, today I'm going to introduce yet another new podcast as part of the Oi! Spaceman family. This one is called Consider the Ray Gun, and it's ostensibly going to be about reading old science fiction books, but since it's an Eruditorum Press thing it'll likely go wildly off topic in an episode or two. 

For the inaugural episode, I'm joined by Pex Lives' own James Murphy to chat about Stranger in a Strange Land, a book that I grew up with and meant a lot to my teenage years, but which James had never encountered. We chat about the counterculture, period sexism and racism, Hugh Hefner wannabees, Heinlein's political evolution, and whether American science fiction authors live more colorful lives than British fantasy authors. Among many other topics. It's a fun listen, I think, although of course I'm biased. 

Shabcast 24, Part 1 of the JFK / Nixon Conversation

It's Shabcast listenin' time again. 

This time I was joined by James and Daniel again, and - for the first time - by Kit Power.  We talked for as long as you'd expect about Oliver Stone's insane, brilliant '90s political movies JFK and Nixon, thus helping to remedy the desperate online shortage of white guys talking about movies about white guys made by white guys. 

This week you can listen to the first half of our conversation, here



Comics Reviews (August 24th, 2016)

Chew #57

Three to go.

Deathstroke #1

Good, competent stuff. I'm still not sure the non-chronological storytelling has a point as opposed to just being a thing Priest likes to do, but it's at least a better way to introduce an important "old friend" character than many approaches in comics. Unless Wintergreen's a longstanding supporting character; it's not like I know Deathstroke's supporting cast well. But still, Priest is working to introduce him, and the non-chronological story helps with that, even as it leaves the actual status quo of this book a bit muddy. This hasn't grabbed me yet as such, but I'll persist for an arc or so.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #10

A frustratingly unfocused issue that sutures two half-issues together without much in the way of payoff or connection. Still good, as this book always is, but an obviously lesser issue that ends up feeling like it's wasting a Ms. Marvel guest-slot, which, as I think about it, is probably the thing that's most knocking this down towards the bottom of the list this week. 

Snotgirl #2

Has the typical second issue problems of a modern ...

Failure is Always an Option

So I've been playing a lot of Sonic Generations lately. This is partly because it's Sonic the Hedgehog's 25th Anniversary in 2016 and while SEGA has announced two special games to commemorate this event, neither will see release until 2017 because SEGA. So I figured I might as well mark the occasion by revisiting the last milestone anniversary Sonic game. Also, I just recently got a somewhat hefty new gaming laptop to replace my aging workhorse with the cracked monitor and failed hard drive I used to write to you all on that was as old as Sonic Generations, and I've been putting it through its paces with a collection of PC games I've had saved in my Steam library but have been unable to, you know, actually play until now.
For a five year old game, Sonic Generations has held up *exceptionally* well. Even just in terms of sheer visual appeal, this is a gorgeous, gorgeous game, especially if you download and install the optional shader effects to unlock the full lighting range of the Hedgehog Engine. For those of you who might not know, the Hedgehog Engine is a proprietary game ...

Of Spaghetti, Myths, and Donuts

No, I'm not going down the rabbit hole writing an essay on spaghetti, myths, and donuts.  It's just a clever title to cover up the fact that I haven't had time to write in a while as I've been whipping The Last War in Albion: Book One into shape, and it's finally given up and submitted to my ministrations.  It looks like it's clocking in at 237,000 words and 210 pretty pictures, covering 760+ pages.  Whew.  So that should be coming out pretty damn soon. 

In the meantime, though, I was able to squeeze in some rather lovely conversations with some rather lovely people.  A few weeks ago I sat down with James and Kevin of Pex Lives to discuss some Westerns and some Doctor Who.  We've got three Sergio Leone flicks on tap -- A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.  This "Man With No Name" trilogy (which, by the way, totally applies to LOST) is juxtaposed with the fan-favorite Tom Baker classic, Underworld, which I chose especial for this chat. "What on earth ...

You Should Have Been a Mother (Earthbound)

A Guest Post By Anna Wiggins

As any die-hard EarthBound fan will tell you, in Japan EarthBound is called Mother 2, and is the middle of the three-part Mother trilogy. As a child, I just knew that I didn’t like EarthBound very much. The game is full of unpredictable tonal shifts, genre pastiche, self-awareness, and quirky humor, and these were either things I didn’t fully grasp or just didn’t enjoy. Somehow, the game just left me feeling vaguely alienated. Possibly, I just wasn’t ready for it.

Part of this may have been the gameplay, too. The basics are familiar to any JRPG fan: wander around, get into fights, select actions from menus, pray quietly to yourself. But the game is difficult, even by the standards of the day. It falls prey to a lot of common design flaws in JRPGs that raise the difficulty without adding fun. For instance, many enemies summon ‘backup’ occasionally, but with no bounds on how frequently this happens in a single fight, fights can become increasingly resource-draining without bound. Critical hits from enemies are far too common, and respawn rates are high enough to make getting anywhere a slog.

Aesthetically, the game is very distinct ...

The Control of the Form

I won't repeat myself by going into detail about living with chronic pain and it's effects; so let's just move on to what I've decided to post today. I'm not just any writer, I'm a writer of poetry and I've been missing that form of communication lately. If I learned anything from my graduate school experience in a masters of fine arts program aka creative writing MFA, it's that while I may love poetry I don't expect others to appreciate it. My audience, when I'm writing, was never as distinct as to feel helpful. Instead, I left academia in part because I realized poetry had always been its own answer.

When we go to school to study we often find ourselves asking why. Why do things work the way we do? A key part of learning to be a better reader of poetry was learned studying under Mark Jarman in Prague. Every day, we would start with the form of the poem. Why was it written just this way? The way the stanzas fit together, the length of the lines, and the visual appearance of the words on the page ...

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