E3 2017: Bethesda

E3 this year has been weird for me. At first I wasn't even going to watch it, resolving to put modern games behind me (except Samurai Warriors) for the foreseeable future, but then the Nintendo Switch started selling like Nintendo stuff does on eBay. So then I was just going to watch Bethesda and Nintendo, and wound up watching Ubisoft and Sony too, the former of which actually did some pretty cool stuff. And yet even so, as I write this, I'm not sure I could point to anything I've seen at this year's E3 that makes me terribly enthusiastic about upcoming releases for the next 18 moths or so, or makes me want to shell out the 300 big ones to get a Nintendo Switch just yet (and “XBOX One X”? Ha. Haha. Hahahahahahahahaha). We're not getting much in the way of reveals and announcements, more “here's a thing we announced last year. We're still making it. Here's what it looks like now and when it'll be out”.
 
But none of that, weirdly, actually matters, because, in giving us a more understated and intimate show, E3 this ...

Proverbs of Hell 12/39: Relevés

RELEVÉS: Properly “removes,” but best understood in the sense of a relief pitcher, with the idea being that the course replaces the previous one. In practice, it is the big set-piece course, and so functioning much the same way that “Rôti” did.

GEORGIA MADCHEN: They say what's wrong with you?

WILL GRAHAM: Just the fever. They're trying to find out what else.

GEORGIA MADCHEN: They won't find anything. They'll keep looking and keep giving you tests and keep giving you false diagnosis and bad medicine. But they won't find anything wrong. They'll just know you're wrong. (Pause) I hope you have good insurance.

One assumes the FBI has decent insurance, but it’s a delightful joke and, given how little time we actually get to spend with an on-the-mend Georgia, probably the key

The sense of being wrong, as opposed to having something wrong with you, is a deep-seated fear for Will. It’s worth recalling his description of the Chesapeake Ripper as “one of those pitiful things sometimes born in hospitals” that fails to die, a description that puts Hannibal in much the same place.

GEORGIA MADCHEN: They said I might remember what ...

Empress of Mars Review

In what seems likely to be his last script for the series, Mark Gatiss finally manages to get ruthlessly trad Doctor Who to work in the new series. Sure, we’ve had straight-up bases under siege and throwbacks, but most of those were at their root prettified versions - what people thinking back to the highlights of Doctor Who half-remember the series as being. But this is what the series actually was - a quaintly stagey morality play in a cave. More than, I think, any new series episode to date you could imagine this one with Jon Pertwee in it. Sure, the Victorian expedition would be down to about five people and you wouldn’t do the pop culture jokes, but this belongs to the series that made Colony in Space, The Mutants, and, yes, The Curse of Peladon in a way the new series simply hasn’t before.

It’s easy to make this sound like an unimpressive trick - and it’s not like the three stories I listed there make many people’s top ten lists. (Though I think they’re all underrated.) But, and I really want to stress that I’m not damning with faint praise here, one need only look at how long Mark ...

Hung Over

So, interesting times, huh. 

Actually, incredible times.

The Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn fights the Tories to a hung parliament after years in the wilderness.  Go back in time and tell me that in early 2015 and I'd laugh in your face.  Not because I ever had anything but respect for Corbyn.  I've always considered him a man of seriousness, principle, and dedication.  And not becaue I think left-wing policies (or what passes for them these days) can't sway people, can't be popular, can't win elections.  They can, and do. 

(The truth is that, spread out across Labour, the SNP, Plaid Cymru - and taking into account the many people who vote LibDem for left-liberal reasons, and the many more people who abstain because they're too left-wing to feel represented by any party, even if they themselves don't necessarily understand themselves that way - the majority of the British public are to the left to some degree.  As Milton Friedman once bewailed, the public are irretrievably collectivist.)

No, I'd have laughed primarily because I would never have thought Corbyn would be able to get the nominations ...

Eruditorum Presscast: The Lie of the Land

I'm joined this week by Kit Power, who has more kind things to say about The Lie of the Land than I do. So, really, any kind things.

Anyway, you can listen to that here if that's the kind of thing you like to do. Or we can just sit here in uncomfortable silence. That's fine too.

To The Future

With the publication of my essay on Ill Wind Part 4 and my Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reading Guide (which just went up earlier today here, in case you missed it), Vaka Rangi has officially left the TNG/DS9 period.

I said it before (in the Species essay), but this means my positionality is gone from Star Trek more or less for good. And I'll be honest, when I was first planning Vaka Rangi in 2013, my initial plans for the project were *limited* to this 1987-1994 (and a bit after) period. I had no intention of covering the Original Series, the Animated Series, the movies, Voyager, the Dominion War or anything else. That I've managed to stretch the project out for this long still quite frankly amazes me. The fact of the matter is I really don't have many more places to go with Star Trek. With Ill Wind, I've basically said all I wanted to say. I did what I set out to do.

I do have some stuff to say about Enterprise and I'm working on the early stages of a rough outline of an ...

Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reading Guide

Longtime Vaka Rangi readers may remember that I have a small tradition of making episode guide/reading list posts whenever I finish covering Big Eras of the project. The hypothetical situation is that someone who is new to the show and yet for some reason *doesn't* want to marathon binge-watch it as is the standard way of consuming TV these days could theoretically be interested in my recommendations for the best stories so as to emphasize the cream of the crop while avoiding filler and missteps. Each entry has a link to my essay on the story for those who might want to revisit them.

I first did something like this when, following a joke Kevin Burns made to me about Futurama, I was challenged to find "20 Good Episodes" of the Original Star Trek. TOS fans will likely be annoyed as there's probably more episodes from that show one could recommend (and I *still* would have chosen different episodes after publishing Vaka Rangi Volume 1), but I wanted to limit myself to 20 following the conceit of the game so I was far harsher in my choices than I might otherwise have been. I didn't do ...

The Proverbs of Hell 11/39: Rôti

RÔTI: Roast, specifically roasted game birds, but in this case likely a straightforward case of “and now we arrive at the big centerpiece courses.”

HANNIBAL: Someone who already doubts their own identity can be more susceptible to manipulation.Dr. Gideon is a psychopath. Psychopaths are narcissists. They rarely doubt who they are.

DR. CHILTON: Tried to appeal to his narcissism.

HANNIBAL: By convincing him he was the Chesapeake Ripper.

DR. CHILTON: If only I had been more curious: about the common mind.

HANNIBAL: I have no interest in understanding sheep. Only eating them.

One of Hannibal’s more bluntly callous secret confessions. Its unusual viciousness is probably explained by his understandable frustration at having to relate in any way, shape, or form to Chilton. Also interesting is the selection of animals for the metaphor - a departure from the show’s default choice of pigs that flags the particular disdain with which Hannibal holds Chilton.

DR. CHILTON: I thought psychic driving would have been more effective in breaking down his personality.

HANNIBAL: Psychic driving fails because its methods are too obvious. You were trying too hard, Fredrick. If force is used, the subject will only surrender temporarily.

Hannibal is, of course, obliquely ...

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