Geek Speak

 

Hello and welcome to the first of a new series of occasional posts where I talk about some of the geeky stuff I’m into. So that’ll be books, films, tv, games (video and board), comics, stuff like that, usually centered around the sci-fi, fantasy, or horror genres, or sub-genres therein. There’s no particular rhyme nor reason for this, other than giving me a chance to enthuse about the things I love. You won’t find me complaining about things I don’t like, because that seems like a colossal waste of time and effort to me.

I’ll tag all these posts under the ‘Geek Speak’ category so they are easy to find somewhere in the bar thingy to the right of this blog —>

 


 

Firstly, can I tell you how excited I am by the release of Peter F. Hamilton‘s new book The Abyss Beyond Dreams? VERY!

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Peter Hamilton is my favouritist writer. Sci-fi presses my awe and excitement buttons more than fantasy or horror can. I was always that kid who was into “space”, and I have to say that when I first read Hamilton’s huge Night’s Dawn Trilogy it blew my tiny mind like nothing else has, and his works continue to do so. This is epic space opera at it’s very best, and if you haven’t read any of his books, I implore you to do so. You probably shouldn’t start with this new one though, as technically it’s a continuation of a series that began with the stand-alone Misspent Youth before jumping forward in time and kicking off The Commonwealth Saga with Pandora’s Star and Judas Unchained, before jumping forward in time again with the Void Trilogy: The Dreaming Void, The Temporal Void, and The Evolutionary Void. And now the story continues with the beginning of this new trilogy. Yay! What love about Hamilton’s works is the optimism, the forward thinking, the mind blowing future societies and greater universe, and the outstanding characterisation of a human race who have essentially gotten around the problem of mortality (But they can still die though, oh yes).

Where would I recommend you start if you’ve never read any of Hamilton’s books? Oh boy that’s tough, because the Night’s Dawn Trilogy is an amazing blend of far future space opera and horror, the Commonwealth Saga is so rich and involving… his first books, The Greg Mandel Trilogy are really great and accessible due to not being so huge in size and scope, but are not quite as mind blowing… Fallen Dragon is a great story and is stand-alone, so perhaps that… but really I want you to read them all – go on, you won’t regret it!  

The Abyss Beyond Dreams is out now. I ordered my copy from the UK because I prefer the cover, as well as the use of the letter “u” and such… (he is a British writer after all) I actually have it on ebook as well but I’m going to savour this beautious tome the old fashioned way. Can’t wait! (Well, I can, but you know what I mean).


 

The second season of the anime Psycho-Pass has begun, and this makes me very happy indeed as it is one of the best anime I’ve seen. 

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This is a show that you can watch even if you’re not familiar with anime, or are perhaps put off by some of the tropes and quirks that are often associated with the medium. Set in an ambiguous city in 2113, law and order is controlled by the Sibyl System, which measures the populace’s mental states and personalities by scanning their brains and using the data to determine the probability that individuals will commit crimes. The scans result in a Psycho-Pass measurement, determined by a number and colour hue. If it is determined that an individual is crossing the border into unstable territory, and thus has the potential to commit a crime in the near future, the authorities are authorized to apprehend or even execute the individual, depending on how unstable they are.

We focus on the team of enforcers whose job it is to enforce the Sibyl System, and within the series we explore the nuances of how this society works in some really neat ways. There is an over-arching story which culminates in the first season with a certain individual who is able to defy the Sybil System and commit crime and manipulate others without his Psycho-Pass measurement increasing, thus making it very difficult for the enforcers to catch him, or apprehend him even if they do. This is a mature and very interesting series which isn’t afraid to explore philosophical and societal issues whilst also being action packed and quite shocking in places.

Highly recommended, even if animation is not usually your thing. You can watch the first season online HERE.  


 

I’d like to finish (for now) by talking about the video game Destiny, which is taking up quite a lot of my play time these days…

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Initial reports/reviews were perplexed or vaguely negative when the game first came out, because people weren’t quite sure what they were getting. Seems like they complained about a lack of story and depth, mostly, which is pretty preposterous really. There is a story, even though we only have the tip of the iceberg to begin with and are thrown right into the action – which really is a good thing. This is a franchise that is touted to have a lifespan of ten years, so there’s plenty of time to unfold the story, and Bungie, the company behind the game, is dedicated to keep developing and updating the game on a regular basis – and already have been doing so – responding to the community, as every good organisation should. There’s also oodles of depth within the ranking, experience, and upgrading aspects of the game. Check out these videos to have a peek of what the game is about.

Simply put, this is a first-person shooter crossed with a MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) game, and a bloody good one at that. Frankly, if you like Halo, chances are you’ll love this. Funnily enough more recent reviews and progress reports have many people saying the same thing: despite their earlier reservations about the game, they just can’t stop playing…

You do have to like first-person shooters to get into this, and more specifically competitive online first person shooters. This is a game that requires a constant connection to the internet to work, because even when you’re not playing the magnificent competitive multiplayer modes there are co-operative story modes to play, and even when you are on your own patrolling the solar system you can see other players with you on the surface of the planets. Occasionally a public event will suddenly occur which encourages you to team up with anyone close by. 

There’s not much point me going into too much depth about the game here, because there are many many other places where people are doing that with much more obsession dedication than me. But I just wanted to say that I’m loving the game very much. If anyone reading this plays, I’m open to getting together on occasion to tackle some of the more difficult co-operative missions that just can’t be done solo. Wanna hook up? Let me know. I’m on Xbox One, and my Gamer tag is Ephemeral6. I’m a level 27 Warlock right now, and here’s where I’m at: (click the pic below for full screen) I’m very pleased with my exotic shotgun, am levelling up my exotic Scout Rifle. 

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So that’s it for now – I could keep rambling on about all kinds of stuff but this post will never end if I do that! 🙂 So I’ll leave you with the promise that there will be more before too long. Thanks for stopping by!

Leigh

 

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