My Ongoing Affair with Nathan Drake

As usual, I’m going to start a post by talking about something only tangentially related. After falling for and having my heart broken by Alistair Theirin (Dragon Age: Origins) I actually came to quite like his character—as a friend. Always a friend. In fact, my favourite relationship with him was as the brother from another mother for my Warden, Aedan Cousland. I went on to write something like 600 thousand words of fan fiction after the game, most of which included their extremely close friendship. A large part of my affection for Alistair’s character stemmed from his dialogue and the note-perfect voice acting of Steve Valentine.

Because I’m something of a geek, when I find something I like, I look it up and see what’s related. Other things I can play, watch, read, experience. I do this for video game writers, directors, actors and voice actors, and authors. It’s how I find a lot of my favourites. So I looked up Steve Valentine and discovered he voiced a character in the game Uncharted. Naturally, I wanted to play this game. But I didn’t own a PlayStation 3. I had an Xbox 360. So, basically, I was S.O.L. (My budget didn’t extend to two consoles of the “same generation.”) Continue reading “My Ongoing Affair with Nathan Drake”

What I’ve Been Reading

How is it October already? Just last week (in August), I was thinking to myself: “You need to do another reading post.” I made a note in my planner and… turned the page. As always, I’ve been reading lots of awesome books, though. And, as always, I want to share the most awesome ones with you.

Descender, Vol. 1: Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire

The art caught my eye on this one. It’s an interesting style—less “comic” and more “fine art,” with swift lines and watercolour shades. It reminded me of another of my favourite comics, East of West, and it’s just as good. The story starts simply: ten years ago, giant harvester robots swept through the galaxy leaving destroyed cities, dead bodies, and terror in their wake. Since then, even the simplest robots have become enemy number one and hunting them down has given rise to an entire guild of scrappers who hunt rogue bots with the enthusiasm of bounty collectors. Continue reading “What I’ve Been Reading”

What I’ve Been Reading

I have participated in the Goodreads reading challenge for six years now. It’s the only challenge I’ve ever actually completed – probably because it’s based on the number of books rather than specific titles. This year I lowered my goal from 200 to 100, thinking I wouldn’t have as much time to read. I’m at 97 books right now and June has only just begun, so I think I’ll be adjusting the total back to 200.

Apparently I found time to read. I also found some great books!

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, #1) by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

I hardly need to recommend this book. It has won all the awards, and has over 400 five star reviews on Amazon. I’m going to recommend it anyway, because it’s just that good, and because of the sweet nature of the romance, it will appeal to a wide audience.

I love coming of age stories and I adore the trope “friends to lovers.” Both are handled beautifully in this slow burn love story about two boys whose friendship is all about discovering the secrets of the universe – and themselves. Ari’s struggle to accept himself will break your heart. The way he cares for and protects Dante will put it back together again. The final chapter is just beautiful. Continue reading “What I’ve Been Reading”

Easy to Please (My love of splody and sappy cinema)

While I’m queuing up my next batch of book reviews, I’m going to share some thoughts on movies—what I have watched and enjoyed, watched and hated, and later this week, some of the weirdest stuff Netflix has dropped into my mailbox.

I’ve had a Netflix account about twelve years and in that time, I’ve watched thirteen hundred movies. That’s a lot! As you can imagine, not all of them were great. I’m a pretty forgiving audience, though. In fact, I’m absurdly easy to please. I often describe myself as the lowest common denominator. I’ll enjoy movies that others can’t muster even a lukewarm smile for. Part of it is that I don’t sit down with over-inflated expectations. If I rented the movie to watch gorgeous men lose their shirts in the first action scene and then ripple across the screen in a stunning display of sweaty abs and pecs, and they do just that, I’m happy. Who cares about plot when there are wonderfully sculpted shoulders and piercing blue eyes inviting me to come play? Not me.

I also like splody things. Yes, I’m a John Woo fan. If it can be blown up, it should be blown up, and the bigger and hotter the fireball, the better. Collateral damage? Bring it on. Pesky shirts singed into non-existence and conveniently glossy muscles smudged with soot. Mm-hmm.

My favourite John Woo film? Red Cliff. While typically violent, this one is all about the story, for me. I also enjoyed the rich rendering of Chinese history and culture, with the added dynamic of typical Chinese cinema; the exploration of legend and myth and stunts that require extreme suspension of disbelief.

More recently, I had a great time watching White House Down. Roland Emmerich has a reputation for blowing stuff up, especially the White House, so from the moment they released the trailer, I was in. For me, this movie was equal parts awesome explosions and good looking men. Jamie Foxx had his nerd on as president Sawyer, but still captured my heart. Channing Tatum has a wonderful physique. He also has impressive comic timing, which I felt he brought to bear with just the right touch—in between being a great dad and a kick-arse soldier. I also enjoyed the plot. Yes, there was a plot.

Anyone who went into this movie expecting more was going to be disappointed. What I don’t get is why expect more. Movies are designed to entertain. What’s the problem when they aim to do just that? Sometimes I don’t really want to think. Sometimes I just want to see things get blown up. My life is pretty normal—in so far as I live in a semi-rural area and enjoy weekly visits to the supermarket, library and karate studio. For more excitement, I go to the movies, rent an absurd amount of DVDs and read a lot of books. I also play video games and, yep, you guessed it, my favourites are the ones where you get to chop the enemy into little tiny pieces. Or decapitate them. Or find their heads in the sights of a long-range sniper rifle.

I’m also a fan of the Fat Boy.

Nothing like a little nuclear catastrophe. I never shot cactuses, though. I saved my nukes for super mutants. (Fall Out 3)
Nothing like a little nuclear catastrophe. I never shot cactuses, though. I saved my nukes for super mutants. (Fall Out 3)

Before I segue into a ramble about video games, or you worry further about my latent psychotic tendencies, let’s move on to the other sort of movie I shamelessly absorb: romantic comedies. The sappier, the better. My favourite? Too hard to choose, but the first that comes to mind is The Holiday.

I ADORE this film. If I was to peel away the usual squeals (Jude Law, anyone?) it’s about the characters, and the actors chosen to portray them could not have been more perfect. Jude Law exudes charm, even when he’s being a cad—which he’s not in this film. Not really. I loved Jack Black in his role here. I think we got to see the soft and fluffy side of a good comic actor. (Let’s not talk about King Kong, which I enjoyed, but… Right, we’re not talking about King Kong.) Kate Winslet is perfect, as always, and Cameron Diaz shows a lot of heart and soul. Eli Wallach as Arthur Abbott all but steals the show.

*happy sigh*

Pitch Perfect surprised the whole family—me most of all because my husband sat through the entire thing.

While not a typical romantic comedy, it fits pretty well into the genre, and then also spills out because of the wonderful performances from all involved, on stage and in the film. I picked this one up because I’d enjoyed Anna Kendrick’s performance in End of Watch, which is a movie that is far removed from the romantic comedy genre, and one of my favourite Jake Gyllenhaal performances. That one deserves a post all its own. Pitch Perfect also introduced me to Rebel Wilson. She is a funny lady and I had as much fun watching her in Pain & Gain, which is another movie I feel was badly maligned by critics. C’mon, that was gruesomely funny stuff with a cast that made it work.

Okay, that’s probably enough rambling for now. I could list about a hundred great action films—or splody stuff I personally enjoyed—and about another hundred heartwarming romantic comedies. A quick search of the ‘net shows that a lot of folks share my plebian tastes, however, which is comforting in a way. Not everyone feels the need to be a critic. Of course, there are films out there that annoyed, confounded and totally pissed me off. But that’s another blog post.

(Featured image is the delectable Channing Tatum in White House Down)

 

 

Story: Sunshine

Two hundred years after the Reaper War, John Shepard remembers only that he was once a man and that he made a choice. As a ghost, he roams the galaxy, attention called by disparate events, until a ripple of ‘something’ calls him to the Kepler Verge.

Kat and Finch are mercenary engineers charged with making repairs on a derelict frigate. The ship is supposed to be un-powered except for the sync mechanism in the repaired circuitry. Something goes wrong and the ship blows apart.

Shepard has to decide whether to save the two people trapped in the wreckage. It’s not a simple choice and the repercussions of his actions will have consequences no one is prepared for.

~~~

“Sunshine” is a Mass Effect fan fiction written for the Mass Effect Big Bang, Fall 2013.
***Warning: Includes Mass Effect 3 ending spoilers***
Mass Effect belongs to BioWare. Artwork by Whuffie. Full Acknowledgements at Ao3

WPSunshine

one

His favourite colour had always been blue. The ocean, the sky, those flecks of unexpected cobalt embedded in grey stone, cornflowers, morning glory, the eyes reflected in a mirror. The Alliance. Earth from space. The charge beneath his skin, the glow that outlined his fingers at a thought, vapour licking at his heels as he sped through space, the ball of cleansing fire loosed at his enemies.

The fine tracery of veins beneath skin painted a blue so dark it was almost black—except where it wasn’t.

When he died, the galaxy turned blue. White blue flames licked over his arms, dissolving his skin in a cleansing fire of ethereal pain. He remembered the pain. He remembered coming apart, the process of being undone as motes of self pulled free, faster and faster until he lost cohesion. His voice was the last thing to fade; a moan that grew louder, shuddered through him, trying and failing to hold him together, maintain the integrity of being. The last sound a roar, a primordial cry as he became as infinite as the stars.

He did not remember his name. A whisper caressed the nascent bubble of being he carried within. The memory of a sound like the ocean. A sigh. A single kernel of self rippled beneath his touch, knowing without knowing, that it was his.

He did not remember whose skin had been painted with lines, but he knew it had been a person. One being, as distinct from the pulse of occupied space.

But he knew he had died. That thought was known to him, as was his current reality. He knew he was no longer a he, but the pronoun gave him a sense of self. He suspected needing such a sense, requiring it, ran counter to his objective, but he had been at work for a long, long time. And time had rippled and bunched, the flow inexorable, unsteady. A piece of it awaited him right there, and he slipped into it, the space of nothingness, and he breathed.

He was infinite. He remembered everything known by a thousand thousand species. He remembered nothing.

He remembered blue.

continue reading at Ao3