Day: August 31, 2014

Book review: The Driver’s Seat

The Driver's Seat The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Muriel Spark is pretty much synonymous with strange stories, so it’s unsurprising that The Driver’s Seat, a 1970 novella billed as a “metaphysical shocker” is deeply creepy.

It concerns the last holiday of Lise, a suicidal and lonely woman takes a holiday to an unnamed “southern” country (swarthy blokes, student riots, a couple of languages, old architecture) with the intention of being murdered. Not of killing oneself – that would be a little easy. But of becoming a murder victim.

I’m not actually giving anything away, here. The plan is revealed very early on, though we’re left guessing how and who until the very end, much as in a Christie work. Except Christie never worked macrobiotic orgasm-fanciers into her prose. (more…)

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Papo & Yo (2012)

There’s a lot of chatter online about how games merely reinforce stereotypes and play it safe with narrative. This game – albeit a very short one – takes bold steps with narrative but is let down by the actual game experience. 

The story – an exploration of how a child hides from an abusive parent and how they must learn to let go to proceed – is a strong one. It’s also rooted in the childhood experiences of game designer Vander Cabellero. It’s a serious topic, and one not really covered in the gaming world, except when it’s providing an excuse for arse-kickery. (more…)