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This link recently saved by shanucore on February 19, 2016
I'm pretty new to the games industry. My role perhaps only exists because of the very particular nature of Failbetter's games and my refusal to take "No, of course we don't need an editor. No, seriously. Stop making that noise." for an answer. I come from traditional publishing. The transition from solitary keyboard hermit to part of a games team has been fun, sometimes painful, and taught me a great deal.
This link recently saved by shanucore on February 01, 2016
‘Deep down I’m very shallow,’ Reacher says, and Martin’s jeu d’esprit gives a pretty good snapshot of the skills and temperament required to walk the line between clever and stupid with such aplomb. Child has lots of the right wounds for a big-name novelist – a life-threatening illness in childhood, a sense of class displacement from his time at grammar school – and brings them up in the tones of someone who’s been interviewed many, many times. But in the throes of the writing process he displays a wider range of moods. ‘The character does not exist,’ he snaps at one point. ‘It’s just a way of mediating the wants of the reader.’ Elsewhere it’s more a case of Reacher, c’est moi. ‘I know what people want,’ he says indignantly when his publishers query his choice of title. ‘I am people.’ Of his work living on, he says: ‘Ha! It’s all moonshine. As soon as I stop writing the front list, the back list will curl up and die.’ There are also some sideswipes at David Baldacci, the writer of a knock-off series starring a beefy military cop called John Puller. Reacher has already had his say, ambushing a thug called Baldacci in an aeroplane toilet and breaking both his arms. After the plane has landed Reacher helps him to his feet: ‘It seemed the least he could do.’
This link recently saved by shanucore on January 25, 2016
I should point out that this is a sickness endemic and unique to broadsheet writers: people who write for the tabloids know that they exist to galvanise the converted and to inflame the outsiders; when they get attacked for their cruel and thoughtless opinions they know it’s the sign of a job well done. Broadsheet writers, who are far more stupid, actually think that what they do has merit: they don’t just want people to be swayed by the force of their argument and the intricacies of their prose; they want to be loved. Freud could tell you what comes next. When that love fails to materialise, when ordinary people who don’t even work for a newspaper dare to point out that what they’ve said is actually thoroughly moronic, we’re due another thousand-word corrective diatribe against saddos on social media.
This link recently saved by shanucore on January 06, 2016
China Miéville is a literary pioneer, an explorer of the shadowy pathways that run in the spaces between rigidly defined genre categories. The scramble for commercial success holds no allure for him. Instead Miéville blazes his own trail through the dark forest of imagination and always seems to come away with stories—such as Perdido Street Station, Kraken, and Iron Council—that are singularly unique, profoundly moving, and genre-transcendent.
This link recently saved by shanucore on December 09, 2015
‘What have the Romans ever done for us?’ John Cleese asks in Monty Python’s Life of Brian. His audience, not realising his question is rhetorical, replies: aqueducts, sanitation, medicine, public order, etc etc. Guy de la Bédoyère, on the other hand, doesn’t need a list: the Romans’ most important legacy, he suggests in his new book, is literacy, and specifically the habit of written memorialisation. Pre-Roman relics are visible all over Britain – there are barrows, hill-forts, stone circles and chalk figures – and we can infer quite a lot about the people who made them: we can measure their skeletons, test the isotopes in their teeth to see if they were born nearby, and often establish how they died. But none of the information we have is personal. There are no names, no faces. Those come in with the Romans, and the inscriptions that record them provide a narrative that runs in parallel to the histories of Caesar, Tacitus and their successors. They document the lives of ordinary people, slaves and centurions, potters and graffiti writers.
This link recently saved by shanucore on December 01, 2015
A lot of great storytelling relies on the intricacies and weaknesses of human character – a villain lies to further their own ends, an eyewitness misremembers a crucial detail, a fairytale hero forgets the one thing they were told not to do. Of course, all of these weaknesses are exactly the things software is designed to avoid – computers are reliable, accurate, and always follow orders. It makes for great word processing software, but it doesn’t always make for interesting games – so why don’t we try and model these weird human idiosyncracies and see where it leads?
This link recently saved by shanucore on September 08, 2015
Recent examples from major media outlets targeting harmless individuals demonstrates a major ethical failing - as compassionate persons and responsible writers, commanding a platform. This doesn't mean writers must never target individuals; it means writers must be more careful and thoughtful than they are now.
This link recently saved by shanucore on August 13, 2015
We used to have a culture. Now we have a system of inter-connecting battlefields where we vie for each other’s attention: Every meeting a duel, every venue a siege, and every fandom a bloodbath. Cultural spaces born of the enlightenment and nurtured by mass education have now been sold off, locked down, and forced to turn a profit. This is war and when we talk about finding new ways to get our ideas out there we are actually talking about trying to circumvent the defensive fortifications that people have built around their innermost thoughts and feelings. The answer to the commercialisation of public space and the defensive cynicism it breeds will never be better megaphones or catchier jingles. There will always be room for another layer of cynical detachment, another layer of white noise that we screen out as a matter of course.
This link recently saved by shanucore on July 13, 2015
While identifying with Jane may deliver a significant emotional payload, the real strength of the story emerges when you deny yourself the catharsis of an ending and begin to think about the group’s emotional dynamics and how completely uninterested Kathrin and Leslie seem to be in Jane’s well-being. They can sympathise with the idea that Jane’s boyfriend might have asked her for anal sex but Jane does not even try to talk about her real news… that was never the purpose of the gathering. Salter is typically unforthcoming on the question of what it is that Jane actually gets out of her friendship with Leslie and Kathrin but one way of reading the story is that while the more confident women use Jane to make themselves look good, Jane uses her frivolous friends as a means of reminding herself of her own intellectual and moral superiority. Sure… Jane might envy the women their easy sensuality but her use of the word “cheap” in that description of Kathrin shows true and long-standing contempt.