Author Archives: Act

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

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The author of this 2010 book, N K Jemisin, won the 2016 Hugo Award for her latest series. Jemisin is a black woman, and this went over with the scifi/fantasy community about as well as “black” and “woman” usually do. Because their rage gives me joy, I bought her award-winning book, The Fifth Season, as well as this, her first novel (thereby appeasing my need to Do Everything in Order).

This very much reads like someone’s first novel. The biggest issue is that the protagonist is one of the most over-the-top Sues I’ve ever encountered in a published book.

On the other hand, Jemisin’s writing is technically quite good, the mythos unique, and the narrative voice really great. It’s an immature story, but it’s the immature story of a good writer with good ideas. Unless you’re specifically into romantic fantasy and/or looking for a nonwhite fantasy protagonist, it’s probably not worth reading, and I ended up frustrated that it had all the elements of a great story without being able to bring them together into something truly compelling. That said, it left me really interested in The Fifth Season, because if Jemisin has improved even a little since writing this it’s going to be a great book.


Flirting with Overjustification

Hey all.

I know we have a good deal of lurkers here — either that, or illhousen has his Russian hacker network IP spamming us every day — and I’d appreciate even those who are usually quiet weighing in on this.

Today I got a marketing email linking to a free download of mass-released game in exchange for a review. The game is not freeware — it retails for $10, so it’s effectively $10 in compensation — this wasn’t an individual asking for a personal favor, and while there was no “you can only play it if you review it OR ELSE” caveat, it was pretty clear that was the gist.

(I don’t know why someone would go after a publicity review from a person who hates everything, but here we are.)


Higurashi: Festival-Accompanying Arc [Conclusion]

I realized I never mentioned it, so: my Third Annual Small Feminist New Year’s Resolution is to stop assuming the gender of people online. It’s crazy just these past few week I’ve noticed myself defaulting to male for no reason. 2015’s “stop using sex-based slurs” and 2016’s “stop calling adult women girls” were really great ways to break both habits, so I have faith I’ll get better at this as well.


So: I cheated. After like 37 years of Higurashi I just wanted to know what happened and got tired of taking notes so from the point I left off at last time I went through to the end on my own. Inside are some final thoughts about the finale and the VN as a whole.

Which leaves me with a question: Would you rather I go through Umineko first and then do the LP, or risk a live play?


QuickPans: Steam Winter Sale Edition

I wrote my entire Baldur’s Gate/Planescape post only to have my browser crash and lose it, so you’re getting this instead. Fuck everything. I’m going to go cry in the corner.

It was once again that glorious time of year where you could get 47 games for $3.50, and I have to say, I’m getting better at vetting games for myself. I ended up with tons of great stuff this year, three mediocre games, and the two I really didn’t like were things y’all subjected me to.

There is an upcoming Recs post that will accompany this one.

Inside: Karma Miwa, Forgotten Not Lost, We Know the Devil, Limbo, Always the Same Blue Sky


Site Speed Update

Hi all! I figured out what was causing the slowness and I’m really proud of my 1337 SKI11Z so I feel the need to tell you.

Basically our “Recent comments” plugin was checking every single post for new comments every time a page loaded. This is bad plugin design and it should feel bad.

I’ve disabled it, things seem to be running smoothly, and I’m looking out for a new plugin; bear with the lack of informative sidebar until then.

edit: Jeez this widget is so much better. Are the excerpts too big? It takes up a lot of space but I kind of like it. I can set it to any character length I want so lemme know if it’s distracting like this.

Half of a Yellow Sun

Been a while since I did a pop novel, but I found I had a lot of thoughts about this one that I wanted to compile, and then I figured I may as well force them on you.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a spectacularly written work of historical fiction about the Nigerian civil war in the 1960s that functions primarily as a class commentary. Adichie’s prose is the best I’ve encountered in a long time. Unfortunately it has some pretty significant misogyny issues, and I was surprised by how toothless the racial commentary was.

Also, if anyone has read Americanah (Adichie’s latest novel) I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on it. It being primarily a romance doesn’t really appeal to me so I got Yellow Sun, but I’m willing to believe the strength of Adichie’s writing could carry even something boring.

Warning for lots of rape.


Dragon Quill Steam Group

Hi all!

I’ve started a DQ Steam Curator list largely for my own benefit (it’s now super-easy to tell which games I need to do writeups for). You can find it here, and if it’s your bag, follow us on Steam. All reviews with posts link directly to writeups on the blog for easy access!

@Illhousen, Farla, and Mini-Farla — Steam only allows + or – reviews, so for some more middling ones I just made an educated guess. If you want anything changed give me a shout.

This minimizes the likelihood of me finishing a game and realizing 4 months later I never did a post about it and then going LOL OH WELL which happens with a much higher frequency than I would like to admit. It also makes it easy to find games we rec on Steam, and the creators of some of these games def deserve your money, so I think that’s important.

Happy holidays!


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I’m on vacation, but while I put off finishing the Higurashi conclusion, y’all should check out Mimpi, an absolutely adorable little platformer about a cute pupper trying to find their human. Everything about it is endearing, and it’s nice to see a game with a built-in hint system so all the puzzles are actually solvable. Check it out!

(Semi-related: is there any interest in a DQ Steam Curator account?)

Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World- [Light Novel]

edit: Also, idk if anyone would be interested, but in case: I made a myanimelist account to keep track of all the manga I’m reading as well as the like 2 animes I watch. It’s kind of a supplement to the blog I guess?

Farla got tapped for the anime, so in my ongoing endeavor to not watch any TV, I decided to read the light novels. The English mass release is on volume 2 now, with the third coming out in March, though I’ll probs find the fanlation online of the next ones. Overall, I’ve enjoyed it so far. Its biggest flaw is that the prose itself is not very good, but it’s clean and held up by good pacing, likable characters, and an interesting premise.


Buffalo 5 Girls and Memoirs of Amorous Gentlemen

Buffalo 5 Girls and Memoirs of Amorous Gentlemen are two in-progress works by Anno Moyoco, each about ten chapters right now. Both tackle prostitution, sexual violence and slavery, and the challenges of loving men in a patriarchal world.

I’m generally not a fan of christening things “feminist” or “not feminist” — it’s rarely so simple, the world can’t be neatly arranged into good and bad categories, and arguing about whether or not an author/work belongs in the Club virtually always comes at the expense of actual thematic discussion and analysis.

That said, if you’re looking for manga with strong feminist themes, I haven’t encountered anything quite like Anno’s work. Add her gorgeous art on top of it and she’s easily my favorite mangaka right now.

(Both of these works are on Crunchyroll, and if anyone would like my login info to read them/watch shit just let me know.)


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