Recommendations from My Precarious Piles of Printed Pictures and Prose

I moved in the middle of this pandemic, and have nearly twenty open boxes and unsorted piles of comics and graphic novels sitting around. Revisiting the books I already own (whether I’ve gotten around to reading them all, or not) while unpacking has been incredibly fun, and is the basis of the following comics recommendations.

ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria for the End Times by Andrew MacLean

From the creator of the visceral and absurd Head Lopper, ApocalyptiGirl is similarly distinct in its art presentation and story pacing. The story follows Aria and her cat, Jelly Beans, as they search through a seemingly abandoned city for a mysterious artifact. Unsurprisingly, this plan is interrupted by unsavory locals and others with designs on the artifact. This story really excels in it’s mix of frenetic action and ponderous moments, letting us ruminate over the many mysteries of the world, then pulling us back into the narrative without ever fully revealing what’s going on.

DIE vol. 1 Fantasy Heartbreaker by Kieron Gillen, Stephanie Hans, and Clayton Cowles

DIE is a wonderfully bleak combo of moody aesthetics and a fantasy storytelling melange. Described by writer Kieron Gillen as “Goth Jumanji”, DIE follows a group of now middle-aged “friends” who are once again pulled into the dangerous role playing game that they’d previously survived as teens. If you’re looking for a mix of Jumanji, the Bronte siblings, table-top role playing games, or Timeline, you should read this comic. Continue reading “Recommendations from My Precarious Piles of Printed Pictures and Prose”

Animal Crossing in Real Life

So, I hear you spent a lot of time at home during the quarantine. Same here – I was getting out, though, here and there. Chatting with neighbors, planting flowers, even travelling via plane – all from the comfort of my own home!

Like the vast majority of Nintendo Switch owners, I’ve been playing Animal Crossing New Horizons since it released back on March 20th. While I can say without a doubt that no one is enjoying living through a pandemic, finding little social loopholes like Animal Crossing has made it a little more bearable. For those who aren’t familiar, Animal Crossing is a franchise started by Nintendo in 2001. Since then, the franchise has had 4 additional main titles, 3 spin offs, and even an animated movie. Much like The Sims, Animal Crossing is considered to be a “social simulation” game. However, unlike The Sims, you and the friends you may be playing with in the game are the only humans. All the non player characters are anthropomorphic animals.

Animal Crossing
Animal Crossing. Photo courtesy of Jaz W.

Continue reading “Animal Crossing in Real Life”

Science Fiction 4 All Seasons

Four Science Fiction eAudiobooks featuring four different styles of Science Fiction stories. Happy listening!

Anne Manx in Lives of the Cat by Larry Weiner, read by Claudia Christian and Patricia Tallman

[Science Fiction Noir] For fans of Science Fiction Radio Serials
Anne Manx is an honest detective, maybe the last one remaining in the star system. And because of this, when a sudden insurrection within the police force puts the entire system on the edge of anarchy, she finds herself on the wrong end of a gun barrel. But this is not where Anne Manx’s story ends. For this end is merely a beginning, and like the mythical cat with nine lives, Anne Manx is one hard cat to kill. A fast-paced romp through space full of campy fun, this fully-staged radio production is an homage to radio serials of old, like Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, mixed with the satirical adult humor of Barbarella.

Armada by Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton

[Science Fiction] For fans of Ready Player One, Ender’s Game, and all things growing up in the 80’s
From the team that brought you the new sci-fi cult classic novel and audiobook, Ready Player One, author Ernest Cline and narrator Wil Wheaton, have reteamed to create another ode to the 80’s in Armada! This fast-paced science fiction adventure is the perfect blend of two 80’s Sci-Fi classics, Jonathan R. Betuel’s film, The Last Starfighter and Orson Scott Card’s novel, Ender’s Game. High school senior Zack Lightman is doing what he does most days in class, staring out the window and daydreaming, when suddenly he sees something that he certainly couldn’t have seen. If you asked him what he saw, he wouldn’t tell you. Absolutely not. Because if he did, you’d think he was going crazy. Just like his dearly departed dad. Because, what he saw in the sky that day wasn’t a bird, or a plane, or even a super-man, but a spaceship. A very specific spaceship, as a matter of fact. A spaceship from his favorite game, Armada. But that can’t be right. Because that would be crazy. Continue reading “Science Fiction 4 All Seasons”

Write On!: Nonfiction Writing Informs the World

Do you have an investigative mind? Is sussing out the “true story” something that intrigues you? Does researching a topic or an issue give you a thrill? How many times has someone said, “You should write about that!” If you have, ever, dashed off a letter to the editor, why did you stop there?

Why not put all that good thinking on a page or screen? Send it out into the world and see what happens.Writing a strong nonfiction piece that informs, educates and provides an insightful perspective on a topic contributes to the greater good of society and is rewarding, in its own right.

Maybe you will, eventually, get paid for all of your hard work. Before that can happen, however, you need to get busy. This is a perfect time to get busy! Continue reading “Write On!: Nonfiction Writing Informs the World”

#BookBingoNW2020: Set At or By the Sea

It seems as long as people have told stories, they have told sea stories. Gilgamesh crosses the sea and even dives to the bottom in the quest for eternal life. The nautical adventures of Homer’s Odysseus are literally legendary, as are those of Jason and the Argonauts. More recently, both Edgar Allan Poe’s Narrative of the Life of Arthur Gordon Pym and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick set sail from Nantucket on voyages that sounded some strange depths indeed. Environmental writer Rachel Carson had her first big success writing about The Sea Around Us, while Iris Murdoch’s masterpiece sends her obsessive hero on a misguided journey to escape himself by the side of The Sea! The Sea! Here are some other sea stories to get you started on this oceanic bingo square:

The Rathbones by Janice Clark
Young Mercy Rathbone and her cousin Mordecai set off across the briny deep in search of her whaler father in this offbeat gothic adventure inspired by Homer’s Odyssey and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2020: Set At or By the Sea”