• Blog

    Counting the Minutes

    I am a huge James S. A. Corey fan. I’ve read every single Expanse book (including novellas/short stories) multiple times, and I’ve watched (and re-watched) the television version of The Expanse in its entirety so far. It’s safe to say I’m hooked.

    So the fact that the next book in the series – Tiamat’s Wrath – is coming out in less than 48 hours has certainly not escaped me. I’m more hyped than I think I’ve ever been for a book before, and to remedy that as soon as possible I’ve got the ebook version pre-ordered through Kobo/Rakuten. I’m so ready to dive in the moment it drops (yes, that means midnight if possible) that I’ll probably read the entire thing in one sitting – just as I have with the previous books. I won’t be able to help myself in starting it, and once I do I doubt I’ll be able to put it down.

    But right now, in this moment, you could say that I’m sitting in anticipatory hell. I can see reviews coming out, I’ve been seeing people getting their ARCs for a good while already, and I’m honestly just trying to avoid mention of the book at all – or I have been for the past few days. I suppose that blogging about it isn’t exactly avoiding it at this point.

    So here I sit. Waiting. Anticipating. Counting the minutes.

    (I hope it’s as good as I expect.)

  • Blog

    The Perfect Gauge

    Sometimes, all it takes is the tiniest hook to pull you into a story. A little hint of something wondrous, a well imagined and realistic character, or even a world you’d want to step into… whatever the hook, it doesn’t need to be big; it can pull you in as long as it actually snags you.

    Recently, I started reading Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds – a choice I’d made after thoroughly enjoying Pushing Ice. I’d been reading for a while, and had come across a few interesting hooks thrown my way, but none of them seemed to be catching. None of them dug in. Not one.

    Then, somewhere near the 128th page (18% of the book already complete according to my e-reader) something was revealed that completely saturated my interest. The hook – which at this point could be the main hook of the story – dug in, and snagged a wanting deep inside my brain. A want of knowledge; a want of things magnificent, and magical, and so utterly indescribable that people haven’t even thought of them yet (save for maybe the author) was triggered. And I fell, hook dragging me in deep.

    I’ve experienced this type of hook once before, the one that hides until you’re in over your head and then yanks you into the depths. It was from my current favourite author Peter F. Hamilton, which happened to have an introduction at the start of Revelation Space. 

    Hmm.

    Excellent writers have to stick together, I suppose. 😛

  • Blog

    Television Treachery

    So Netflix has officially cancelled all their Marvel shows.

    While I’m not someone who watched any of those shows, I am an avid television watcher and this brings a much bigger problem into the light; whether or not to start watching a TV show that’s based on a service like Netflix before it comes to a conclusion.

    While broadcast TV certainly has a problem with premature cancellations, it seems like it’s much easier for someone like Netflix – with a huge repertoire under their belt – to start culling the less popular or more expensive shows. Netflix has tons of programming that appears first/only on its service, and they don’t care as much about user happiness as they do their cash flow and perception. Culling a property that’s expensive and underperforming (in their eyes) is much easier for them than trying to give it a conclusion, as they feel that they have so much other programming to fall back on when people get mad and/or stop watching that it won’t matter in the end (even though it does).

    On the other hand, broadcast TV is defined mostly by networks that house a small but loved range of shows. While many of the shows may have what the network considers to be low viewership (by their highly inaccurate viewer count systems), or they may cost a lot of money, there are only a few shows on any one network – and cancelling them might come at the cost of having nothing better available to go in its time slot. Some shows are therefore safe, even though someone like Netflix would’ve trimmed the perceived “fat” long ago.

    Because of this, shows that have a broadcast presence have a better chance of surviving and getting the ending they aimed for. Not all of them do, and some of the endings still end up improvised or cut short (I’m looking at you, Timeless), but when you’ve only got a handful of good options it’s harder to cut any of them from the lineup. Anyone with a brain would find it impossible to ignore that, and very easy to see how subscription TV could be the opposite.

    Now, at this point you may have guessed that my absolute biggest pet peeve is watching a TV show that gets cancelled before it reaches an adequate conclusion. It irks me so badly that most of the time I never watch that show again – even if it was one of my favourites before, and even though I love rewatching stuff. I even go as far as to sell the DVDs/Blu-Rays second hand just to get rid of them, never buy the final seasons at all (because they usually drop on disc after cancellation), and generally tell people to avoid those shows. It seems like a waste of time, and that the time I’ve put in has been a waste as well – ’cause honestly; who the fuck wants just part of an interesting story?

    I’m sure on the surface my response seems like a bit of a knife in the back to a series/company that has been providing me with entertainment, but at the same time it’s easy to gloss over the fact that they also tainted that entertainment by failing to bring it to a proper end. It’s a messed up way to treat your customers (in my opinion), and I’m starting to get really tired of it.

    “But Kyle, some things are just not justifiable,” you might say – right?

    Sure, I’ll agree with that – but think about this for a moment; what if they pulled that trick with movies? I’m not talking such that a completed movie wouldn’t get a sequel, but what if they tracked opening night tickets live and if/when not enough people paid for the first show on the first night the movie just stopped at some arbitrary scene – and was only ever available for re-watching up to that point. That’s pretty much the model of story-telling they’ve employed with TV shows, only that you’re paying with a subscription service (streaming), or by watching live and viewing the ads (broadcast TV).

    Would you call that fair, or would you call bullshit?

    Personally, I’m calling bullshit, and I’ll be much more picky at what to watch in the future because of it.

  • Blog

    I Dreamt A Strange Dream

    For a long time, I didn’t really dream – or at the least I didn’t dream such that I remembered it in any cohesive way. Going to sleep was like dying; I’d turn off, not move, and then wake up not-so-rested. It was my curse, and it was constant. I got used to it.

    Now however, things are a bit different. I’ve been experiencing time dilation in my dreams. Hours of sleep become days, weeks, or even months of time. A few nights ago was one of those nights.

    Sitting up in bed, I realized I’d dreamt a dream of a hundred days or more. I couldn’t say for sure how long exactly, but when I explain I’m sure you’ll see the vastness of it (just as I did).

    So the start of the dream – the part I remember the earliest – went like this…

    Sitting inside a rocket, I started to strap myself in; clearly nervous at the endeavour before me. I’ve obviously never been to space, and I’ve hardly even been airborne in a plane, but here I was some sort of astronaut; one with a scientific degree, though I can’t rightly say which one. As I strapped myself in, familiar – but also strange – people joined me with words of encouragement. Two men, though I can’t say who they were. I felt comfortable enough around them to have one of them help me strap in, which is something.

    So I get strapped in, and we do a systems check. We’re communicating with someone, though I don’t remember a call sign or anything. They seemed to know what they were doing, and it was pretty clinical as far as start up procedures go, so I assume it was an agency of some sort – though maybe not NASA.

    It takes a while to get set up, and then there’s this countdown which I know is going to end in ignition. I’m a ball of nerves, but whoever I’m with is pretty confident as they’ve done this before (both of them). I let them try to calm me, though it really has little effect. I’m freaking out on the inside, but on the outside I’m sort of in control. Enough that nobody calls it off, at least.

    So we launch.

    Up into the air at a million miles an hour (not really – but it feels like it), we fly into the sky. I can’t see anything of outside as the small viewing windows are covered (and the ship is traditionally without a front windshield), but it sure feels like a launch. The entire ship shakes and vibrates as I’m pinned to the seat, but nothing else of note happens as we ascend. Then, all of a sudden, I’m weightless.

    As we maneuver into docking with some sort of space station (I have no idea if it was supposed to be the ISS, just that it definitely had large windows) I’m pretty much just there to be nervous. The idea of the vacuum of space penetrating the hull has me more than a bit on edge at this point, though I don’t admit it to anyone there.

    But then, it’s like I’m free.

    Floating through the station, doing work and enjoying the view, I go about my business for at least a month; writing down results of experiments and tweaking the tech they’re using. I don’t remember anything specific about what I was doing exactly, but I remember time passing. I remember seeing night and day, repeatedly. It was peaceful, and humbling in a ton of ways; and I got over my fear of the outside closing in.

    Then, after some time has passed, we return to Earth and everything goes smoothly. Splash landing in the ocean, immediate pick-up, tons of praise and celebrity from it. I remember some sort of award ceremony, as well as a few parties. At the parties I told bad jokes, for some reason. It was strange.

    Then, somehow, I got roped into going back.

    Sitting on a plane with what I think was three passengers like myself (going to the launch site be blasted off into space), I switch seats with a woman who wants to sit near the middle of the plane. I end up at the back of the mid-size craft with someone who is completely new to the whole thing. He’s some sort of brute with half a brain, and while I’m getting situated he breaks something in the back of the plane.

    So then we go down, the plane crash landing somewhere – but doing so in a safe enough way that nobody gets hurt.

    And then I wake up.

  • Blog

    The Old West Feels New Again, At Least For Me

    Happy Holidays, everyone!

    It’s been a good Christmas on my end, with a few great games and some much needed bits and bobs coming my way this year. I’ve got new Joy-Con, eShop credit, Red Dead Redemption 2 (PS4), and Spider-Man (PS4) to keep me busy for a week or two, and a brand new bookcase to house my physical media and free up my old bookcases for more books (the new bookcase is black, my old ones are more traditional in wood).

    But not all those are equal in current appreciation.

    Since Christmas day, I’ve been playing a ton of Red Dead Redemption 2. I’ve worked my way into the story, outfitted my cowboy like a bad-ass, taken on a ton of thugs and gang members, and I’ve even done some good deeds. Unfortunately however, I’ve also taken to smoking mother fuckers who try and stop me on the road. I don’t think  many would approve, but it’s what has to be done when it comes to the old West.

    Over my untold hours of gameplay so far, the one thing I’ve learned is to trust no one. If someone calls for help, more often than not they’re looking to cap your ass and toss you in a bush while they loot your body and take your horse. I’d rather not be the pushover they need, and it’s earned me quite a bit of wanted status so far. I’ve had to pay about $1000 in bounties, which – in the context of the 1800s – is a lot of fucking money. I could’ve fixed up the camp or bought some new weapons with that money. Then again, some or all of the people I’ve added lead to could’ve smoked my ass like a cheap cigar and sent me to the “dead” screen. Fuck that.

    In the end, I think I prefer to keep with my tried-and-true method of dealing with the enemy. Funnily enough, I think it might even be the way that one of my favourite characters from my yet-to-be-published book would deal with it (especially at the start of the book – before he undergoes changes through the events he experiences). Mercenaries take no quarter, and I don’t plan to either… at least in-game.

    But anyways, I think it’s time to get back at it. The wild west calls, and though I’m generally more of a present or future timeline dreamer, I’m quite liking the world they’re offering me. It’s fun to get a little dirty sometimes, and right now I’m having a lot of fun. 😉