spindizzy: A My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic style portrait of me. (Lady Business)
[personal profile] spindizzy
Well, this sure is a mixed bag of things I read in the last month! I'm not sure how I ended up doing this weird mix of genres, mediums, age-ratings and degrees of... Let's go with quality, rather than consent, shall we? But I think I had a pretty good run of it all told, despite the fact that at least one of these books nearly got launched across a room at one point.

Books, graphic novels and manga read:
  1. Steven Seagull Action Hero by Elys Dolan

  2. The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale and LeUyen Pham

  3. Death of a Ghost by Margery Allingham

  4. Small Town Witch: Love and Wonder by Alex Singer, Jayd Aït-Kaci, Ariana Maher and Jen Doyle

  5. Small Town Witch: The Art Book by Alex Singer and Jayd Aït-Kaci

  6. Stranger in my Arms by Lisa Kleypas

  7. Behind The Scenes Volume One by Bisco Hatori

  8. Captive Prince by C. S. Pacat

  9. Prince's Gambit by C. S. Pacat

  10. Kings Rising by C. S. Pacat

Well, it's kind of a mixed bag. )

What's everyone else been reading since I last posted?
helloladies: Gray icon with a horseshoe open side facing down with pink text underneath that says Co-Review (co-review)
[personal profile] helloladies
Transistor cover

From the creators of Bastion, Transistor is a sci-fi themed action RPG that invites you to wield an extraordinary weapon of unknown origin as you fight through a stunning futuristic city. Transistor seamlessly integrates thoughtful strategic planning into a fast-paced action experience, melding responsive gameplay and rich atmospheric storytelling. During the course of the adventure, you will piece together the Transistor's mysteries as you pursue its former owners.

"Buy a bundle with the soundtrack?" I asked myself at checkout. "Why on earth would I do that?!" LITTLE DID I KNOW.

LITTLE DID YOU KNOW. As the game's developer, Supergiant, is apparently wont to do, the soundtrack for this game is absolutely gorgeous and woven into its storytelling and characterization. The music is a great way to start this review because it's so much a part of the game's atmosphere and worldbuilding. The game is set in a city, Cloudbank, that is ever-changing based on the votes of its populace, from what's on restaurant menus to the colour of the sky to the weather. We start the game with Red, the female protagonist, and a man's voice coming from the titular sword, the Transistor, and we face the Camerata as our antagonists. The cast also includes a variety of diverse characters, including people of colour and queer folks, though the way the narrative treats them is... complicated. Red is a silent protagonist, but the sword talks plenty, providing narration, commentary, and interaction. This is accomplished by absolutely superb voice acting on the part of Logan Cunningham, the voice of the Transistor. It's especially effective when he has emotional moments with Red or when he's being affected by the Spines.

Transistor screenshot: stopping to hum

Logan Cunningham carried so much of the game for me, entirely on the strength of his voice acting. The man in the transistor is our narrator, our primary source of explanations and world-building, and the voice acting adds so much colour and emotion – which is really what you need in a game where the protagonist can't speak for herself. The way he says Red's name breaks my heart, there's a world of backstory in the way he says "Hello again, Sybil," his pitch-perfect reactions – Ira, I don't think I can tell you how much I liked that voice acting, and the bits you picked out are the bits that got me too.

(The other voices are good too – Royce sounds like Matthew McConnahey's character in True Detective, played back at a slower speed, Asher is the right level of awkward stiltedness for someone trying to reveal and conceal the truth at the same time, and the distortions of Sibyl are appropriately unnerving – but the man in the transistor is the stand-out part for me.)

The voice acting is also what sold me on Red and the transistor's relationship in the early stages of the game. Who and what they are to each other isn't really clear for at least half of the game – I admit, I spent the first few levels going "Please tell me he's not a charming creeper taking advantage, that is a trope I recognise" until I caught up. But through the voice acting, it's crystal clear that he adores her, even though he's essentially talking to himself the entire game.

This structure – the transistor speaking mostly in monologue rather than dialogue – means much of the story and characterisation is told in gaps. Because Red doesn't speak at all during the game, you have to actually look for her characterisation. A lot of it is done through what the other characters say about her, or through her gestures and comments on the OVC terminals – public-access computer terminals set up all over town to enable the mass voting that Cloudbank relies on – but interacting with most of the terminals is completely optional, which means that you can actually skip half of the characterisation of the game's main character. But the way it's done is excellent - she can leave comments on news items and surveys, so you can watch her type, delete, type -

("Is it following me?" she writes, but she posts something different entirely.)

Transistor screenshot: stopping to hum

And there are only two chances that I've found to have Red and the Transistor actually interact, both of which come through the OVC terminals (one I actually MISSED the first time around - when I say that it's possible to actually skip some of the characterisation, I'm not kidding!).

At this point I want to pause and consider the problem of silent women. Read more... )


Spoilers )
spindizzy: Kyoko lying on the floor looking sad. (Nuuuu)
[personal profile] spindizzy
Q: Susan, where have you and your book column been?!
A: ... Y'know what, I don't even KNOW. I may have fallen into a black hole made of the same like, three fic for the entirety of March, because that's about all I remember?

... Seriously, I would like to discuss the awesome media I've been consuming but I don't think I've read anything for like a month. So... This is me trying to get back into the swing of things?

Books, graphic novels and manga read:
  1. Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

  2. Immortal in Death by J. D. Robb

  3. First Term at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton

  4. Alabaster: Wolves by Caitlin R. Kiernan, Steve Leiber, and Rachelle Rosenberg

  5. Rachel Aaron's 2,000 to 10,000 by Rachel Aaron

  6. Take Off Your Pants! by Libbie Hawke

  7. Grave Sight Part 2 by Charlaine Harris, Denis Medri, William Harms

  8. Revival Deluxe Volume 1 by Tim Seeley and Mike Norton

  9. The Chase by Jesse J. Thoma

Books behind the cut! )

So, how's everyone else doing? I'm assuming not everyone checked out during March, so how have your reading projects been going?
spindizzy: A My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic style portrait of me. (Lady Business)
[personal profile] spindizzy
Cover of Beyond Eyes; a little girl walks into a woods.

Beyond Eyes is about a little girl, Rae, who is blind, as she goes looking for her missing cat. I wasn't sure what to expect from it, as it was something I picked up in the Steam Sale for cheap, but I'm still not sure how to feel about it even after I've finished it.

Cut! )
spindizzy: A My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic style portrait of me. (Lady Business)
[personal profile] spindizzy
This week's post was going to be a good and sensible post! It was going to contain completely reasonable amounts of books! And then I ended up travelling over 500 miles with my spousal unit as we hokey-kokeyed up and down the Welsh border for three days, so I had plenty of time to clear out my Comixology backlog. Especially as Storm Imogen made all of this, y'know, fun!

(Hay-on-Wye is AWESOME, guys, it has like thirty-eight bookshops in one village. We didn't get to linger because we were worried about the road back flooding, but it is SO GREAT.)

... What I'm saying is that I'm seriously considering giving up as a prose reader, it's clearly not working out. I'm sorry prose! It's not you, it's me!

Books, graphic novels and manga read:
  1. The Losers Omnibus Volume Two by Andy Diggle, Jock, and Shawn Martinborough

  2. Cardcaptor Sakura Omnibus Volume One by CLAMP

  3. Fairy Tail Volume One by Hiro Mashima

  4. My Little Monster Volume One by Robico

  5. Lady Killer by Joelle Jones and Jamie S. Rich

  6. Ajin: Demi-Human Volume One by Tuina Miura and Gamon Sakurai

  7. Your Lie in April Volume One by Naoshi Arakawa

  8. Manga Dogs Volume 2 by Ema Tooyama

  9. The Man of Tango by Tetuzoh Okadaya

  10. Lazarus Volume 3 by Greg Rucka, Michael Lark, Tyler Boss, and Santi Arcas

Short stories and single issues read:

The fact that I am cutting this list should tell you how long it got. )

I'm gonna try to keep it short, considering how much we've got to get through. BRACE YOURSELVES, CHAPS.

Onto the thoughts! )

So. Yeah. That was my fortnight in reading stuff. Next time I decide to read this much stuff? Somebody stop me. *sobs*
spindizzy: A My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic style portrait of me. (Lady Business)
[personal profile] spindizzy
How's my reading going this year?

A screenshot of a tweet that says 'I have underestimated how much manga I read.'

Yeah, about like that!

This fortnight I have seriously failed out of reading prose, but have done quite well on manga and graphic novels! I do have a stack of crime novels and queer lit about three feet high to get through (I will measure it if I have to), including like eight J. D. Robb books, so I need to crack on through that.

Before I do, though – internet! I have a request! Do you have any recommendations for women-centric stories set in Ancient Greece and/or the Roman Empire? I have Lavinia by Ursula Le Guin, Daughters of Rome by Kate Quinn, and I've got Lindsey Davis' The Ides of April on order... I'm just not sure where to go from here. A lot of the stuff I can lay my hands on is focused on male characters, and quite frankly that's not what I want from fiction about the ancient world. Can anyone give recommendations?

Anyway, on to what I've read this week!

Books, graphic novels and manga read:
  1. Chii's Sweet Home Volume One by Konami Kanata

  2. The Heroic Legend of Arslan Volume One by Hiromu Arakawa and Yoshiki Tanaka

  3. The Wicked + The Divine Volume Two: Fandemonium by Kieron Gillon, Jamie McKelvie, and Matt Wilson

  4. The Girl-Thing Who Went Out For Sushi by Pat Cadigan

  5. Manga Dogs Volume One by Ema Tooyama

  6. Yotsuba&! Volume Ten by Kiyohiko Azuma

  7. Yotsuba&! Volume Eleven by Kiyohiko Azuma

  8. The Losers Volume One by Andy Diggle and Jock

  9. Yotsuba&! Volume Twelve by Kiyohiko Azuma

  10. Kaoru Mori: Anything and Something by Kaoru Mori

Short stories and single issues read:
  1. City of Salt by Arkady Martine

  2. Monstress #3 by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

So many books behind the cut! )

So, that's me all caught up! How y'all doing?
spindizzy: A My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic style portrait of me. (Lady Business)
[personal profile] spindizzy
2015 was a weird year for me – I watched a lot of movies, fell head-first into the pit that is Steam and the Steam Sale, and started the flagrant abuse of my library card, because I am finally free of university!. But I accidentally ended up working mostly-full-time for half the year with the Three Hours On Public Transport Every Day that went with it... And then was really surprised by how much less reading I did once I switched jobs! But the upside of all of this is that I'm steadily getting clearer on what I like and dislike in my media! I'm still learning how to write about all of this (opinions on the internet: somewhat terrifying!), but hopefully by this time next year I'll be better.

And step one: start talking about all the stuff I loved last year. :)

Cut! )

So that was my 2015 in media! I have ludicrous plans for my media consumption in 2016, and I'm really excited about what's coming!
spindizzy: A My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic style portrait of me. (Lady Business)
[personal profile] spindizzy
The cover of Library Wars: Love and War Volume 1 by Kiiro Yumi

The Library Freedom Act:
Libraries have the freedom to acquire their collections.
Libraries have the freedom to circulate materials in their collections.
Libraries guarantee the privacy of their patrons.
Libraries oppose any type of censorship.
When libraries are imperilled, librarians will join together to secure their freedom.

In the future proposed by Library Wars, the Japanese government passes strict censorship laws, enforced by a military group (the Media Betterment Committee), who are authorised to remove books from libraries and book shops by force. The Library Defence Force is a paramilitary group committed to defending libraries from the laws, and Iku Kasahara is the first woman to attempt to join it.

Read more... )


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