Month: December 2017

2017 CONSUMPTION: A LOOK AT SOME STUFF I LIKED

Oh, look at the time. It’s that time again: the time I write about the stuff I liked or consumed this year, briefly, for the edification of myself and nobody else, most likely.

idolbyi
Previous versions are here, here, here and here if you need an introduction.
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Goodreads review: 1001 Australian Nights

1001 Australian Nights: A Memoir.1001 Australian Nights: A Memoir by Dave Graney.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Dave Graney is someone who I’ve never understood. But then, I suspect that’s exactly how he likes it.

See, when I first came to hear him – circa Night of the Wolverine – it was just before he blew up into an ARIA-winnin’ pink-suit effigy. I didn’t get the trip: it was a bit too arch for me, who was very meat-and-spuds rock. But over the years I’ve come ’round to what’s on offer – the range of moves and the dedication the man and his machine have towards making their particular kind of music. (I mean fuck, he’s still at it, and still good at it, which is more than can be said for some outta the same starting-blocks.)
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Until Dawn (2015) and Life is Strange: Before the Storm (2017)

A quick whip through two games, because the heat’s left me unable to write anything of length. First up, Until Dawn, which is best described as a Telltale horror flick.

I’d had this one on the to-do list for a while, and I’m glad to have had a chance to get through it. It’s a game that unashamedly mines teenage slasher flicks for material, and manages to create something providing a sense of choice even though it’s pretty much run on rails. (more…)

Goodreads review: Border Districts: A Fiction

Border Districts: A FictionBorder Districts: A Fiction by Gerald Murnane.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars.

So, this is Gerald Murnane’s final book. Depending on how well you sit with his writing style, you may well find that cause for celebration. I’m not that critical, but I must admit that Murnane is an author whose work requires reading at the appropriate time. And while I didn’t hate Border Districts, I didn’t particularly love it, either.
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Goodreads review: Vathek

Vathek.Vathek by William Beckford.
My rating:
3 of 5 stars

Another day, another Gothic confection.

Vathek is another one of those books I probably should’ve read during a uni literature course but never did. It’s one of those novels that was written as the Gothic style of fiction took off, but it’s not as easy to set it next to a Frankenstein, say. For starters, it’s been shelved in the Orientalism section for years, even though its author knew more of the world of Islam than other fabulists of the time.

It’s also a work that doesn’t really know what it wants to be. There’s a love story in there, some intentional riffing on Paradise Lost and The Divine Comedy, some big-noting about travellers’ arcana, a stab at voluptuous prose and some sheer fucking oddity, held together with minarets and eunuchs. (more…)

Assassin’s Creed Unity (2014)

Well, I finally spent a week or so neck-stabbing my way around Paris.

It had to happen, I suppose. I mean, I’d played every other game in the series in a year-long PS3 burst, and I’d had this one lined up since I bought my PS4. It had a lot of expectation to live up to, so how did it go?

In a word? Eh. (more…)

Goodreads review: Saga: Book One

Saga: Book One.Saga: Book One by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So, here’s something I picked up in an ebook bundle. And conveniently, it turns out to be one of the more enjoyable comic series I’ve dipped my toe into.

(It probably helps that I was a bit of a fan of Vaughan’s Y: The Last Man series, though.)

The setup is pretty easy: it’s a space opera. So it features rocket-ships (albeit ones made out of wood, on occasion), and plenty of pew pew action. There’s TV-headed robot royalty. One-eyed interspecies erotica authors. Sex planets. Freelance assassins. And an interspecies baby that’s not supposed to be – folk with wings don’t get it on with dudes with horns, at least they’re not supposed to. Oh, and there’s magic and spirits and talking cats that know when you’re lying, too.

I guess Lying Cat is like every other cat in the universe, then.

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Goodreads review: The Castle of Otranto

The Castle of OtrantoThe Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So it’s coming up to the holidays so I thought to myself what better time to check out the first English supernatural novel, progenitor of the Gothic genre and on-point guide to decorating your home with revenge-themed supernatural armour? And so I reached for Horace Walpole’s 1764 banger.

Basically, everything you know about the Gothic mode – weird religious symbolism, perverse family intertwinings, twisted tunnels, ghosts kicking arse from beyond death, the horror of landscape and the terror of the built environment – is in here. (more…)

Goodreads review: The Aerodrome

The AerodromeThe Aerodrome by Rex Warner.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rex Warner is these days more known for his translation of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War than for his fiction. But it’s still worth reading his 1941 work The Aerodrome – one of ten he wrote – because though it’s flawed, it contains an odd power.
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Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (2017) and Kôna (2017)

So, I followed up on my previous stint of Nazi-killin’ joy (briefly covered here) with a run through Machinegames’ newest instalment, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.

Let’s just say that if you like machine-gunning fascists to death, it’s a good game. The lengthy trailer above should give you a good idea of what to expect if you’re unaware of the series thus far.

(Spoilers likely follow.)

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