Thursday, August 15, 2013

Stuff You Might Like

Things are moving so quickly now that sometimes I intend to mention something and just forget.

Such is the case with Constellation Games.

The first time I saw the book mentioned, it was in a post at Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow: Constellation Games: debut sf novel floored me with its brilliance. As you can tell by the title, Doctorow raved about the book, and his review made me exceedingly curious. So I read it,  and it was everything Doctorow said it would be and more.

I would normally give you the basic set-up of the book, but the story is so far out there, so wildly original (and gaming related), that I don't want to spoil anything. I will say, though, that the book works on multiple levels: as straight comedy, as a contemplation on what it means to be human (I've said 1,000 times that all great science fiction must be about this), and even as political commentary.

It's a wonderfully funny, deeply resonant piece of work, and you should go buy it immediately. Go now.

Second bit of stuff, and sadly, there's no comedy here at all. Blackfish is a documentary about the treatment of killer whales in captivity by SeaWorld, and it's one of the saddest movies I've ever seen. This is one of those movies that's important to see, but it's very painful. SeaWorld is very clearly and carefully exposed. They've tried to hit back, but I can't imagine that anyone who sees this film will ever go to SeaWorld again. I won't, and I only wish I could take back the money I've spent there over the years.

Twenty years from now, or sooner, I seriously doubt that killer whales will be kept in captivity, and this documentary will be one of the reasons why.

Third bit of stuff, and this is even't a product, it's just a preview of a product. Farming Simulator has quite a niche following, and I have to admit, peacefully managing a virtual farm sounds appealing some days. What I'd like to mention, though, is the trailer for the upcoming console version, which is, quite simply, one of the best gaming trailers I've ever seen. It makes Farming Simulator seem so hip that Grand Theft Auto cowers in its hipness shadow. It's just a minute long, but what a piece of work: Farming Simulator trailer.

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