Less Than Zero

I've got nothing today.  I was trying to get something written about Wonder Woman but it's not ready yet, and may not be good (or tactful) enough to publish anyway.  Meanwhile, a podcast I'm editing is presenting big audio-quality problems.  So, yeah, coupled with other stuff going on IRL... I ran out of time.  Sorry everybody.

So instead, here is a little round-up of stuff I've been reading lately.


Here's Andrew Hickey saying important stuff about Autism and Empathy.

Josh was kind enough to send me this interesting article in the New Yorker about 'the occult roots of modernism'.  Essential for modernism geeks.

Cameron L. Fantastic wrote a review of Zero Books' much-anticipated Kill All Normies by Angela Nagle... and it's not pretty.  I have to say, my hopes weren't high because I think Nagle is overrated.  Her Jacobin articles have been okay(ish) but shot through with frankly bizarre problems.  I can't say Mr Fantastic (?) is right about Nagle's new book, because I haven't read it, but if half of what he says about it is true then it's a ...

Eruditorum Presscast: World Enough and Time

I'm joined this week by Chris O'Leary, author of Rebel Rebel, to talk about World Enough and Time. You can get that here.

Hyrule Haeresis 7

Do you ever wonder why Celtic music always sounds so sad? Because it is always lamenting something it lost so long ago it can't even remember what it is longing for anymore.

The Celtic-infused sea shanty that scores the intro sequence to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is the overture. Singing its own microcosm, The Wind Waker's opening gives way to a declaration of its rights and standings amongst the unfolding Legend. A tapestry of recap. No mere retelling, this Legend. This is the next part of an unbroken, continuous story. A serial. “Act 3, Scene 1” is written on the script of our experiential lives.

Sure, this is a Legend that has been passed down “from generation to generation”. All Legends must be. But this Legend is specifically The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Elevated to the status of myth itself, Ocarina of Time's version of The Legend of Zelda has become a story from a distant Golden Age. The new Ur-Zelda and its vaunted status etched into the fabric of the Legend itself. But of course, it would be. Why wouldn't it be? Ocarina of Time was the greatest and ...

An Unraveling Thread

I should probably link the book I wrote on Wonder Woman, A Golden Thread. Which I just cut the price of. Buy that here.

I saw Wonder Woman opening night, with a big group of friends. Standing outside the theater afterwards, everyone in the group - mostly female - expressed their love for the film, until eventually all eyes turned to me, and I confessed that I kinda hated it. Since then, I have largely opted to shut up about it. What I want out of a Wonder Woman film is, after all, by definition idiosyncratic, and in no small part incompatible with mass audiences. More importantly, however, despite having literally written the book on Wonder Woman (or at least a book), this was very clearly just not my conversation. I didn’t, and indeed still don’t want to be the guy who shits on the first superhero film to actually offer serious female representation largely untainted by the male gaze. There are widespread reports of women crying with joy at seeing a female superhero on screen, including ones who don’t even like superheroes that much. That matters more than a weirdo blogger who happens to have written a book.

Still, it’s been ...

World Enough and Time Review

As an excuse to let Peter Capaldi exclaim “a Mondasian Cyberman!” it’s a solid one. This is not an inherently less worthwhile pursuit than getting Ysanne Churchman back to do the Alpha Centauri voice, so let’s roll with it. After all, the other Peladon-related angle to work here is “the Monster of Peladon to Dark Water’s Curse,” and we wouldn’t want to get snarkily contrarian in the first paragraph, now would we? 

After all, there’s a lot that’s good to outright brilliant. Stripping the Mondasian Cybermen back to the medical horror that inspired Kit Pedler the weekend after the US Senate unveiled its plan to fund a tax cut for the wealthy by murdering poor is probably the second most audaciously on the nose classic series deep cut that Doctor Who could have done this week. (Third is Brexit of Peladon; first, of course, would be a Paradise Towers sequel with a prominent scene about fire.) It’s beautifully executed - Rachel Talalay nails the horror as you’d expect, and Moffat’s eye for the macabre has never been finer than the volume knob. The Mondasian Cybermen are exquisitely creepy, and the extended buildup of their iconography before Bill’s ...

Eruditorum Presscast: The Eaters of Light

At long last, we've got this week's podcast up, so you can kill an hour before "World Enough and Time" comes on. Our guest this week is Elliot Chapman, and you can listen to our discussion here.

Drunken Whocast 2

Yes, the Drunken Whocast returns.  It is now, undeniably, a regular thing.  Some guys - Jack, Kit, and Daniel this time - in varying and progressing stages of shitfacedness, talking far too much about Doctor Who

This time, your arseholed hosts talk Series 2 (2006).  And other things (this was recorded before the election). 

As before, you're getting this almost entirely unexpurgated.  We've removed only some dull pauses, some bathroom breaks, one or two jokes that were a tad too off-colour upon sobre reflection, and one instance of vicious slander.

Stick with it - I'm told hour 4 is the best. 

Download here.

As often happens, people who sponsor me on Patreon heard this ages ago.  (I don't thank my sponsors at the end of Drunken Whocasts as it seems wrong somehow, almost as if I were insulting them, but they all get namechecked at the end of regular shabcasts, as long as I have time to record that bit.)

Elder Kings (Crusader Kings II mod) with Ben Knaak



Over at my YouTube channel, I recently had friend of the blog Ben Knaak on to play and talk Elder Kings, a fanmade modification for the game Crusader Kings II that changes the setting from the medieval crusades period to Tamriel from The Elder Scrolls. Over the course of the 2 hour video, we discuss the Grand Strategy genre, The Elder Scrolls Online, musō, eSports, E3 2017, historical fiction, video game violence and the Marxist conception of history.

This was originally going to be a livestream a week or so back, but due to cascading technical problems involving CPU usage and YouTube's own livestream algorithm it went disastrously. We offer our sincerest apologies to anyone who tried to tune in for that. As a result, we recorded this offline session instead and turned it into a normal video with all of our commentary intact and 100% less "Can you hear me now? Let me try this". If I livestream again, which I hope to, it will probably have to be on my end and I'll have to test the limits of my rig and Internet connection.

Once again, if you want to hear me and ...

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