genre stuff

18Jan

Game Soundtracks

Kotaku has a list of the best game soundtracks from last year. I think it’s always worth highlighting some of these, as they make for excellent writing music (especially the Destiny game, which they highlighted). I’ve written a couple of lists myself over the years, largely film-based, but I’ve recently been enjoying a mix of old and new computer game soundtracks.

The Elder Scrolls IV and V (Oblivion and Skyrim) are absolutely superb for writing fantasy fiction, as is the Dead Space franchise and Dragon Age. Assassins Creed knock out tons of soundtracks, but can feel a bit same-y after a while. Some of the old World of Warcraft soundtracks can be fun as well.

Anything good I’m missing out on?

18Aug

Busy, Meat, Whisky

Worldcon whizzed by at the weekend, hence the lack of activity here. There’s far too much to talk about, so I’ll simply say it was a lot of fun, good to meet new faces and catch up with grizzled old ones. The only thing to add is that, on my whisky site, I’ve written about the Iain Banks memorial whisky tasting, which was excellent.

And, whilst I stayed over in London, I found some time to talk about meat. Lovely meat.

10Aug

Nine Worlds

Nine Worlds
That’s me on the ‘Food in Fantasy’ panel, alongside Esther Saxey, Ed Cox, and the especially entertaining Gail Carriger. (Photo stolen shamelessly from the J for Jetpack Twitter account.)

This was the first time I’d attended Nine Worlds, which is now in its second year. I have to say it was one of the most positive, inclusive and relaxed genre conventions I’ve ever been to. In fact, I’d say it was easily the most well-organised, thoughtful and well-planned conventions. It was great to see a new generation of SFF geeks in attendance, too.

I could only make it for one day, but next year I’ll almost certainly try to make it there for two days.

Next stop, Fantasy in the Court on Tuesday night, and then Worldcon next weekend.

30Apr

Mars Simulation in the Utah Desert


This is a bit weird, and there’s more detail on Mashable, but essentially a six-person team lives in the ‘Mars Desert Research Station’. Crews pay $500 to rent the module and pretend they were living on the Red Planet. I suppose it might be fun for a little while and, though the psychological impact probably wouldn’t be anywhere near as close, at least you’re away from the distraction of social media.

29Jan

Article of Note

I’ve often been one to scoff at the media’s suggestion that violent video games lead to violence in culture. But it turns out there is quite a lot of academic evidence linking video games to aggressive behaviour:

C. A. Anderson et al.’s (2010) extensive meta-analysis of the effects of violent video games confirms what these theories predict and what prior research about other violent mass media has found: that violent video games stimulate aggression in the players in the short run and increase the risk for aggressive behaviors by the players later in life… Yet the results of meta-analyses are unlikely to change the critics’ views or the public’s perception that the issue is undecided because some studies have yielded null effects, because many people are concerned that the implications of the research threaten freedom of expression, and because many people have their identities or self-interests closely tied to violent video games.

That’s just one. It’s also worth hitting up Google Scholar to see the number of papers on this issue. Food for thought.