In the Brainholes: creepy dreams, Mass Effect, stories

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I’m still feeling out the format for this blog, but I’m taking a lot of inspiration from the work Chuck Wendig does over at terribleminds.com. He has several days of the week where he hits specific blog categories — Fridays he usually throws down a writing prompt, for example. Thursdays are usually interviews. Seems like a good idea.

“In the Brainholes” is my current experiment for Friday blog posts. I’m envisioning it as a rundown of the stuff that’s been on my mind throughout the week. Plus I think I’m going to throw a writing prompt/weekend fiction challenge at the end (and shamelessly steal from Chuck). For the time being, until I decide I don’t like this idea anymore.

So away we go.
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Fanboy knowledge compressed into book form

Resident Evil:  Afterlife

Never tell anyone you can write a book in a month.

I thought I could do it. Well, technically, I did do it, at the expense of some sleep and some other commodities. It’s an intense experience, trying to bang out any kind of massive amount of content in that short a span. The reason I thought I could handle The Unofficial Resident Evil Trivia Challenge, a book I have coming out this week (holy crap!), was the fact that for much of my life I was a giant, unapologetic Resident Evil fanboy. I knew a crapload about the video game series that (in my estimation) is responsible for the massive resurgence in the popularity of zombie fiction, games and movies.

So when I was approached by Brandi, the literary agent who signed Nick and me when we were pitching So You Created a Wormhole, with the proposition of doing a trivia book, I was excited. “I can totally do that,” I thought to myself, mentally flipping through the pages of Resident Evil trivia I could remember off-hand. “Easy.”

Oh, what a fool was I.

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5 Tips: Breaking Into Freelance Games Journalism

writing

I’ve been working steady as a games journalist for better than two years now, and occasionally I’m asked about how to get into the industry. There are no hard and fast rules, unfortunately — nor is breaking into the industry at all easy for anyone. I wound up here by a confluence of lucky circumstances and persistence.

However, it’s definitely possible to get work as a freelancer, in any segment of journalism. But freelance work is as much about playing salesperson as it is writing, and you have to be able to handle both in most circumstances. The bad news is that being your own salesman as well as writer kind of sucks. The good news is, you can distinguish yourself if you’re a little bit savvy and willing to work for it.

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Missing the moon’s first visitor

armstrong on the moon

I was born 16 years after humans first walked on the moon.

It was years before I actually started to understand what the event meant. Two men had walked on a shore so distant, it floats in the sky. They ventured into the Sea of Tranquility and found it alien. They left boot prints upon another world.

The adventures of fictional characters into the reaches of space are among the things that inspired me throughout my life. The exploration of unknown worlds is something with which I’ve always been fascinated, and stories such as those drove me to start telling stories of my own, and the stories of others.

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In My Brainholes: Slenderman, Plus a Short Story

slenderman

Slenderman freaks me the hell out.

I’m not sure what it is, exactly, about the notion of the Internet-invented urban legend. There’s just something about him. Primarily it is, perhaps, that he’s an infiltrator; that he appears at will, bends the laws of reality, and pursues relentlessly his victims. Also he has no face. And he’s like some kind of weird spider thing.

Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself. If you’re not familiar, the Slenderman is that guy up there — a creature invented for a contest on the forums at SomethingAwful.com. He’s a creature of sorts, faceless, who seems to have dominion over children and apparently abducts them. Some or all of the rules of the creature are subject to change depending on which interpretation you’re talking about, and at this point there have been a few. Still, there seem to be a few steadfast elements: the Slenderman is tall, man-shaped although not a man, and keyed on sight. If you see the Slenderman, he will hunt you down. Your fate is sealed.

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A return to journalism could save journalism

Journalist

Occasionally I like to throw down a diatribe about the state of journalism, something of which I’m more spectator than participant. But seriously, it’s impossible to study journalism, to give a crap about it, and not see the state of Journalism The Institution and not freak the hell out. I’ll try to keep the freak-outs to a minimum.

My most recent cold sweat at the thought of what our jackass country is doing to the gathering and dissemination of information came from this Poynter article, which discusses the fact that news magazines like “Newsweek” and “Time” don’t employ fact-checkers. This was important because the cover story of the latest “Newsweek,” which happens to attack President Barack Obama’s track record as president, also happens to get, like, a lot of things incorrect.

But hell, why bother to get things right when you can just be loud? That seems to be the prevailing wisdom in media for the last decade.

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How I wound up a video game industry journalist

red dead holdup

Occasionally I get asked about how I wound up doing what I primarily do for a living, which is working as a freelance games journalist at GameFront.com, as well as how others might make their way into the industry. I know quite a few people who’d like to find a way to do what I do, so I figured a series of posts to that end would be useful. Here’s the first.

Mine’s not a particularly inspiring story, except perhaps for how mundane it is — it carries an air of “I’m a games journalist, and so can you!” So I mean to impart the tale and a few tips along the way maybe, though it’s probably not an experiment that can be replicated.

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5 Time Travel Movies Worth Your Attention

timecrimes 2

I was going to write about the whole Girlfriend Mode thing, but the more I thought about it, the less happy I was with whatever I had to add to the conversation. So here’s a conversation to which I can definitely add something useful to you guys.

Over the course of researching for SO YOU CREATED A WORMHOLE, I watched and read tons of time travel fiction beyond the stuff that I’d known and loved already. Rather than yammer any further, here are five off-the-beaten-path movies that take clever stabs at the time travel idea, and will occasionally blow gray matter out your brainholes.

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Some thoughts on ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

Dark Knight Rises

This is probably pretty obvious, but there are SPOILERS in here.

I’m a little late to be sitting here writing about Christopher Nolan’s last turn at the helm of a Batman film, and most of what there is to say about the movie has already been said. I’m not interested in reviewing the movie, because it’s not like it would do any good to do so anyway. It’s good in ways and pretty crap in others; either those crap things overwhelm the good ones for you as a viewer, or they don’t. The end. Either way, reviews don’t seem to really be adding to the discussion or making anyone rethink their viewpoint.

But there are a few interesting things about the Nolan Batverse that TDKR deals with…and doesn’t. Having thought about it for a while now, I’m struck by how Nolan and the others who worked on the story and script, namely Jonathan Nolan and David S. Goyer, have been setting up Batman as both a solution and a problem, a hero and a potential villain. There are a number of things wrong with the traditional conception of Batman (and with superheroes) when you really sit down and start to think them out; TDKR actually gets close to dealing with those things, and with issues like justice, before it strays away in favor of big-budgetiness.

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