Remembering Spock, and the Man Who Made Him

spock wrath of khan

When Leonard Nimoy died late last week at the age of 83, it left me thinking, like many people, about “Star Trek” in particular.

Nimoy himself has been an ever-present cultural icon throughout my life — from episodes of “In Search Of…” to episodes of “The Simpsons” — but of course he’s best remembered for his role as Spock. That’s because Spock and “Star Trek” still resonate to people like me, even decades later. On the phone with my dad over the weekend, when our conversation inevitably turned to Nimoy, he mentioned that Spock had been one of his heroes growing up.

He was one of mine, too.

Continue reading Remembering Spock, and the Man Who Made Him

Things I Liked in 2014: Edge of Tomorrow (or Live. Die. Repeat.)

live die repeat

Eventually I’m going to get around to talking about GameFront, the site at which I’ve worked for almost my entire time in Los Angeles, which was sadly shut down last month. But that post is taking a long time to develop, and stuff like a book release party keeps getting in the way, so I’m back-burnering it for a bit.

Instead, in honor of Groundhog Day, let’s talk about my favorite action movie of 2014 and one of the cooler time travel-ish movies of recent memory: Edge of Tomorrow (or as it seems to have been rebranded, Live. Die. Repeat.)

Continue reading Things I Liked in 2014: Edge of Tomorrow (or Live. Die. Repeat.)

Back to the Stars! The Space Hero’s Guide Launch Imminent

2.1-01

The whirlwind that was 2014 for me had one huge event threaded through the majority of its constituent months: the creation of The Space Hero’s Guide to Glory: How to Get Off Your Podunk Planet and Master the Final Frontier. A book which is, finally, almost out in the world.

Continue reading Back to the Stars! The Space Hero’s Guide Launch Imminent

The Need for Challenge: On ‘Doctor Sleep’ and ‘The Shining’

The-Shining-Danny-Rocket-sweater

The Shining had a big effect on me when I read it as a teenager, so I was excited for its sequel, despite that, as King himself points out in the afterword, it’s hard for a sequel to stand up to something that you remember scaring you at some point in the past.

And yeah, Doctor Sleep is more one of those King books that’s not scary so much as interesting, the way I felt his Cell became at about halfway through, where things stop being so heavy on danger to the characters or the unknown evil workings of the antagonists. Still, it was engaging, although if there was something that felt like an underused opportunity in Doctor Sleep, it was Dan Torrance’s alcoholism.

Continue reading The Need for Challenge: On ‘Doctor Sleep’ and ‘The Shining’

Things I Liked in 2014: Alien: Isolation

alien isolation hunting you

Welp, 2014 is at an end, and it’s been an intense year in which my blogging experiment was put on indefinite hold. A lot of stuff happened, most of it kinda … bad.

Eventually, I mean to maybe unpack all that here, including the things that I learned and the things that I struggle(d) to deal with. In the meantime, since I’ve been out of it for a while, I figure I’ll highlight a few of the movies, books, stories and games I encountered in the last year that I rather enjoyed.

Up first is what is quite possibly my favorite game of 2014: Alien: Isolation.

Continue reading Things I Liked in 2014: Alien: Isolation

The Definitive Holiday Movie Playlist

venture christmas krampus

Over the last five or so years, I’ve slowly been figuring out more and more what I want each Christmas to be like. Caitlin and I haven’t been able to travel home for the last couple of years — what with getting married and all this year (eventually I mean to talk about that here) — so after all the phone and Skype calls are made, there’s not a whole lot else to do.

So it becomes movie time.

Generally, I can’t stand Christmas movies. Even the best of them descend into sappiness in the end, and the real trouble is that it’s all the exact same sappiness. You can basically flip on any Christmas movie for five minutes, assess where you are in the story, and fill in the blanks from there. The key differences are generally whether you’re watching Bill Murray, Jimmy Stewart, Arnold Schwarzenegger, or something made of clay. (Side note: Wait, are there really no Christmas movies with women leads, or am I just blanking on them?)

I try to skip Rudolph, Charlie Brown and anything that involves Santa. That might sound like the makings of Regular Movie Christmas, but there are a few titles that deserve recognition for their ultimate undefinable Christmasiness, while also side-stepping the awful. Here now is the watch list I’ve been cultivating for several years. It’s ever-evolving, but so far, this is the definitive iteration.

Continue reading The Definitive Holiday Movie Playlist

Your Language is Bullets: Blaming the Player for the Game

burial at sea 2

I stumbled back through Rapture last week in BioShock Infinite’s “Burial at Sea” DLC, and the game did that annoying thing where it talked down to me for playing it.

It’s one of those things that video games have been trying to do lately, and it’s kind of sort of infuriating.

Continue reading Your Language is Bullets: Blaming the Player for the Game

Welcome to Space!

kirk enemy within

Today officially kicked off a new phase in development of The Next Big Thing I’m working on along with Nick Hurwitch.

That’s right, it’s a new book, titled, Set Phasers to Stunning: The Space Hero’s Guide to Space The Space Hero’s Guide to Glory: How to Get Off Your Podunk Planet and Master the Final Frontier. A spiritual successor to So You Created a Wormhole, we’re looking to do with space travel what we did with time travel — explain it, make fun of it, reference a lot of science fiction that we love, and make fun of that, too.

Continue reading Welcome to Space!

When XCOM: Enemy Within turned into ‘Aliens’

xcom site recon

Last year’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown was one of my favorite games, largely because it left so much room for play sessions to turn into their own little emergent stories.

This week, a huge expansion to the game, called Enemy Within, was launched, and I’ve delved back into the game to try out the new stuff. The other night, I suddenly found myself playing until about 3 a.m. because one mission grabbed my attention and arrested my ability to think of anything else for a good hour — the emergent narrative, about my squad of soldiers fighting to repel an alien invasion of Earth, was in many ways akin to the horror and tragedy of films like Aliens.

Since it was so tense, my favorite experience with the game so far, I ended up laying it out on Twitter across something like 30 updates. I didn’t realize it would be as long as it was until I was midway into it, but I couldn’t just stop in the middle — I still found it too compelling. Because it seems like such a great example of some of the very interesting storytelling only games can do, I thought I’d put it up here, with a little more context.

Continue reading When XCOM: Enemy Within turned into ‘Aliens’