Yikes! I told you that I’d fall off the blog wagon at some point, but I didn’t expect it to be so soon. It’s been 20-something days since the last time I posted, and I offer my sincerest apologies. I’ll blame day job for that. October and November have been very busy months.
So what have I been up to? REVIEWS. Lots of them, including two top secret ones that I wasn’t allowed to talk about at all until launch: Halo 5 and Fallout 4. I really enjoyed both of these games and gave them good scores. I especially liked Halo, because a) I’m a big fan, and b) it was a linear experience. Go from point A to point B, shoot things in the face, enjoy the story (it has a pretty good plot), and then shoot other players in the face.
Understandably, people are really craving those open-world sandbox games (I call them “checklist” games), so Fallout 4 was an even bigger deal. I had to play this fantastic RPG while also playing Call of Duty: Black Ops III (my review of that went up last night), which proved to be an interesting experiment. In terms of my review, I liked Fallout 4 way more as a game, but will probably have an easier time returning to Black Ops III (except for that dreadful campaign). The checklist aesthetic is really wearing me down, and the thought of going back to Fallout right now is daunting. Meanwhile, I can just shoot zombies in the face, while hanging with Jeff Goldblum. Yes, more. Please.
On top of those reviews, I also got an advanced review copy of Stephen King’s new short story collection, The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, which I really, really enjoyed. These aren’t really horror stories, although there are some (“Mile 81” is a pretty good one), but more on the literary side. The book is almost a collection of King’s thoughts on mortality and death. “Premium Harmony” is a particularly great example of how King is able to get philosophical while still scaring the shit out of you — and with something as conventional as a failing marriage. It’s really quite good. And to add to the fun, King opens every story with a little intro about the writing process, how he came up with the idea, and his thoughts on the finished product. I’d even call The Bazaar of Bad Dreams a spiritual successor to his masterful On Writing.
Next week, I have two more reviews...I may or may not have some screeners for Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle TV series...so that’s one thing. I’m currently re-reading the book to refresh my memory. I loved the pilot so much when it premiered back in February, and I really don’t think I’ll be disappointed. After the disastrous Minority Report TV show, I’m really looking forward to a good PKD adaptation. Crossing my fingers.
And there’s Star Wars Battlefront, too, which I already talked about in a past post. My experiences with the beta did not leave me excited for the actual game, but we shall see. I’m hoping to be very surprised, like a bunch of Rebels running into Emperor Palpatine on Hoth.
But enough about work!
Let’s talk about all the things I squeezed into the free time I absolutely didn’t have to spare: watched Spectre the other day and thought it was fine. A little too conventional of an action movie for me to really enjoy it. I won’t spoil anything, but there are two characters in the movie who I really didn’t enjoy, and their connections to Bond annoyed me. But as a popcorn movie? (I bought chocolate, too.) It’s enjoyable enough. I love Daniel Craig very much in the role, but I think Spectre pretty much ties up his Bond’s storyline nicely. I think it’s time for him to move on (I think he wants to, too) and make way for a new Bond. I just have no idea or suggestion for who that could be. I’m always excited for more Bond, though.
I showed my best friends the Star Wars Trilogy for the very first time, and they really enjoyed it. What took them so long?! Well, they’re the kind of folks who don’t necessarily dive into sci-fi often, but do enjoy well-made movies, and the Original Trilogy is certainly that. Now they’re dropping Star Wars references like nobody’s business. So I chose good best friends, basically.
Really loving Doctor Who these days. I’ve really enjoyed series 9 since episode 5 introduced Maisie Williams’ character. Since then, Moffat and friends have been firing on all cylinders. And the Zygon two-parter from the last two weeks? Holy shit. Capaldi definitely deserves to stay in the TARDIS, and I’m glad Moffat confirmed as much for series 10.
Actually, I’ve realized how much more Doctor Who I need in my life. Most of my experience comes from the NuWho series, which makes what I’m going to say next probably a bit controversial (at least to anyone who cares): I don’t care for Classic Who. I’ve tried watching, several Doctors in fact, but I just can’t sit through a single story. The episodes are just too dated and too slow...and they go on foreverrrrrrrr. My boss told me I should really sit through the Tom Baker and Peter Davison stories...But I don’t think I can. SO, can any of you convince me to watch specific stories or listen to the audio dramas or read the comics or something? I NEED MORE WHO.
Okay, two last things and then you can get on with your life (as if you haven’t stopped reading already):
I dropped the ball with that Batman comics column I was going to start in October. Again, apologies. Read Batman #45 and the first three Batman & Robin Eternal issues, but I never got around to the new Batgirl or Robin Son of Batman. So let’s just say I’ll talk about Batman #46 and POSSIBLY the others after today. I want to produce more structured content for my blog, but I need it to be NOT like my job. Because this is supposed to be about low-pressure fun. My first “Readings from the Batcave” will at least cover Batman #46. Done. Stay tuned.
Finally, I’ve been trying to keep to at least one recreational book per month (sadly, that’s all I can read with my current schedule), but I didn’t have a chance to finish The Cement Garden in October. But the good news is that I finished it yesterday! Which means I’ll be writing my thoughts on that book soon, too.
So that’s two promises in one blog post. Better get out of here before I start sounding like a GOP debate.