Hey Ian, Watcha Into Lately?

(Title with apologies to the “Hey Ash, Watchu Playin’?” video series on Youtube.)

Reading

Heroine Complex

HeroineComplexI’m out of town right now, and this book ended up being my bridge book. (Aka I’d started it before I left and finished it now that I’m here.) I’m not usually a big fan of the superhero genre, but this one knocked my socks off. A protagonist that wrestles with feeling overloaded all the time? I’m so there! Plus a boatload of female characters, and everyone is well-written and feels like actual people instead of just cardboard cutouts, even if they hit a bunch of standard tropes. I wasn’t completely there for the romance of this book, but the relationship grew on me as the story went on and the characters involved were explored further. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. It’s a great fast read and a ton of fun.

Fireside Magazine

18334520I’ve been spending part of this trip I’m on catching up on Fireside Magazine. I absolutely love the publication and the people behind it, but I haven’t been keeping up well at all, only reading a story here and there since issue 3. (This is in spite of subscribing constantly since it first started as a kickstarter!) I’ve just finished reading issues 4 and 5 and loved them both. I especially enjoyed my reread of “Love Song of the Lizard Boy” by Delilah S. Dawson and getting started with “The Forever Endeavor” by Chuck Wendig.

A Fine Romance

AFineRomanceAnother big part of this trip has been tackling my backlog. One of the first items off the pile was “A Fine Romance” by T. Neilson, which I think I bought within a week of it coming out and then promptly lost in my pile of unread ebooks. But no more! I don’t read a lot of straight-up romance, but I love Neilson’s work here. The book manages to pack a lot of character depth into its small page count, and the descriptions provide an excellent sense of place for the small island setting. It’s a fun, breezy read, despite the fact that nobody’s perfect, and it fits in a fun mystery alongside the main romance plot, too. The mystery also arises organically out of everything else, which was nice, as it made the two plots feel very intertwined instead of just pasted together like they can in some books.

Watching

Ghostbusters 2016

Ghostbusters2016

I saw the new Ghostbusters yesterday! It was great fun, and I’m pretty sure I like it better than the original. (Sacrilege, I know.)  It has its problems, but overall it was a funny and lighthearted movie and I’d have a great time watching again on a cozy evening with some popcorn and snarky friends.

Steven Universe

StevenUniverse

My boyfriend and I have been making our way through Steven Universe, as I’d never seen it before, and we’re finally done with Season 3. I love love love this show. It does a great job of being constantly subversive without ever patting itself on the back, and it never shies away from adult issues. Fights? Lack of consent? Trauma? All handled deftly and realistically, while still wrapped up in a fun, colorful children’s show. We also need more shows where the main character never uses violence, or uses it only as an absolute last resort in favor of talking and negotiation.

Marco Polo Season 2

Marco-Polo-Season-2

Season 1 of Marco Polo was an absolute masterpiece in terms of production design. It created a great sense of place (to steal my boyfriend’s commentary), and that helped me buy into the plot even more than I might have otherwise. Quick, go watch it now! Season 2 feels like a more modern continuation of that same design, which is somewhat disappointing, as it feels like the core of the show has been chipped away at a bit. It doesn’t help that the writing feels weaker this season, too, but we’re only a couple episodes in, so that might well change.

Playing

Emily is Away

EmilyIsAway

Speaking of backlogs, I’ve been trying to chip away at my games backlog while I’m on this trip, too. The first one I played was “Emily is Away.” It’s all done through an AOL Instant Messenger (circa 2002)-like interface, and it managed to pull an amazing emotional gut punch by the end of it. Does a great job of capturing how friendships change over years and distance, and the interface filled me with a ton of nostalgia.

The Stanley Parable

TheStanleyParable

I’ve been hearing amazing things about this game for years, and I think I had it overhyped for me. Don’t get me wrong, I like how the base game is very short, and it’s interesting that you discover new story threads by literally disobeying the story as written. But after getting through a few of the endings I’m not sure I’ll be going back to it. It was funny, certainly, but not so funny that I’m driven to dig every achievement and little nugget of new dialogue out from the game’s fundamentally repetitive nature. Still, a fun game that I’d recommend picking up when it’s on sale.

Undertale

coverundertale

Yes, I’m finally playing this. Yes, I know I missed the boat on the entire Internet exploding with love for it. I’ve only played about an hour so far, so I don’t have a complete opinion on this one yet. I like that it’s dark and creepy despite its colorful graphics. I really like that you can be a complete pacifist throughout the game. Now I just have to hope I’m smart enough to figure out how to do that for all of the fights.

And that’s what I’ve been into lately! How about you? What’ve you been reading/watching/playing/listening/(I dunno, sousaphoning) lately?

Image Sources:
(All book covers are from goodreads)
Undertale art: https://manekin3k0.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/no-sew-cosplay-frisk-from-undertale/
The Stanley Parable: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/6aCrnUaM2vE/maxresdefault.jpg
Emily Is Away: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/Ns4rWyTuErA/maxresdefault.jpg
Marco Polo Season 2: http://cdn2-www.craveonline.com/assets/uploads/2016/06/Marco-Polo-Season-2.jpg
Steven Universe: http://images-cdn.moviepilot.com/images/c_fill,h_551,w_780/t_mp_quality/rgvy4l8m5pdx6us0n84c/7-reasons-you-should-watch-and-love-steven-universe-713420.jpg
Ghostbusters 2016: http://cdn32.sptndigital.com/sites/asia.sony/files/styles/image_1170x658/public/ct_movie_f_primary_image/gb-sitetakeover_marquee_1920x1080-2.jpg?itok=-psvNf_j
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