Author Archives: Act

Updates and Papers

Hey y’all. Tomorrow morning I start four months of nonstop chemo, which is sure to be a living hell. I don’t know how I’m going to react to the new chemo drugs, but if how I reacted to the first one was any indication, I’ll be like a landed fish flopping around on the couch and whining nonstop for 16 weeks, so that will be fun. On the bright side, they don’t think I’m going to die, so that’s nice. Surgery went fine, and I had a CT scan last week that suggested it hasn’t spread anywhere, so.

I was hoping to get further into Umineko before now, but unfortunately recovering from surgery was a lot more crappy than I thought. Anyway, since I haven’t done that which sucks, I thought I’d share what I was actually able to do, which was my term paper for my independent research project this semester. My proposal was a study of contemporary (defined by me as post-1970 in my proposal, though in practice it’s really post-1980) popular women’s detective fiction. It was mostly borne of curiosity — after 1970 or so, detective fiction rather suddenly becomes completely female dominated. In what I’m sure is a complete and utter coincidence, scholarly study of the genre also basically stops then, petering out with the hardboiled era. So I thought it’d be good for me to look at where the genre has ended up and how it got here. Like all popular fiction aimed at women, the genre has gotten a reputation as being unliterary, low-hanging-fruit. I wanted to really push up against that belief in myself.

What I absolutely did not expect was to read like 25 books about rape culture. I read about so much fucking rape this semester. It was really emotionally draining, as was writing my paper about it. I did the most depressing research I’ve ever done, and found that I could only write it in like 2-page increments before I kind of wanted to blow the world up and needed to go like, playing kids’ video games for two days to work up my resolve again. (Or, as Mr. Act put it, “I think you’ve earned the right to write about teletubbies or something next semester.”)

Anyway that’s all a long way of saying I had to do this and now I’m bringing it to you because I deserve to have someone else have to know all the shit I now know.

I also thought more generally that it might interest some of you since you’re all weirdly interested in what I have to say anyway, to which end I’m also linking my spring term paper about the way the modernist era used the label ‘middlebrow’ to marginalize women’s writing. The research I did for that one has actually been really helpful in thinking about some of the books Farla’s done here, so even if you’re not willing to subject yourself to 23 pages of someone talking about rape (which, HUGE FUCKING TW ON THIS), you might be interested in this one.

I’ll also say that the whole opening section to the rape paper is kind of a mess. I rewrote it a bunch of times and at this point I’m just so exhausted with this damned paper that I’ve kind of said fuck it and I’m hoping the more focused analysis and conclusion sections can hold it together. It’s not my best work. The middlebrow paper is much better, IMO.

Anyway. Hope you’re all well. If there’s some kind of book emergency and anyone needs to contact me, please do so through Mr. Act instead. You can reach him at mr.act(at)dragon-quill.net.

Much love, and happy holidays.

Fall 2018 IS Final Paper (The Rape One) — please email me for this one!

Spring 2018 602 Final Paper

Disgaea: Hour of Darkness

You know those made-for-TV movies MST3k and Rifftrax do sometimes, where it obvious it was two episodes of a show that were smooshed together into a ‘movie’ because halfway through the plot resolves and the entire second half is an unrelated plot with completely different characters? That’s this game, except that the first plot was actually very good and I liked it and then 30 hours in the game ended, brought in a new cast, switched genres, and started up a completely different, worse plot, and somehow continued for another 15 hours. The whole thing was so weird, and it was so jarring and the new plot/characters so shitty I just couldn’t finish it. I ended up watching the True End on Youtube to see how the loose ends of the first plot tied up and felt totally satisfied and like I had no more questions, which goes to show how out-of-nowhere the second plot was. The game is largely worth playing through Chapter 10 (I think? It may have been 9). But there’s really no reason to finish it.

I’m publishing this concurrently with the Phantom Brave review because Phantom Brave does all the things Disgaea does well even better, has a coherent plot, and is without all the shitty sexualization, so it’s worth looking at them together, but I had too much to say about each individually for a single dual post to make sense.

(more…)

Phantom Brave

Phantom Brave is a very good, surprisingly heartfelt tRPG with some wonderful messages about female friendship, disability, environmentalism, and prejudice. It also has a really unique item system that had a moderate learning curve but was lots of fun once I got the hang of it.

I’m publishing this concurrently with the Disgaea review because Phantom Brave does all the things Disgaea does well even better, has a coherent plot, and is without all the shitty sexualization, so it’s worth looking at them together, but I had too much to say about each individually for a single dual post to make sense.

(more…)

this was a wild ride

I’m dying and unable to function, but you can enjoy this bizarre exchange in which my personal brand of media criticism smashes headlong into whatever the fuck tumblr considers media criticism. I’m still not entirely sure what happened; maybe I’ve lost the ability to use words. Also my comment was absolutely flagged on purpose, which I know because disqus told me, the ol’ devil.

Anyway my point is that was a fucking great post on Saber and I want y’all to appreciate the one time in 10 years I’ve posted more than ‘fukkin takeuchi’ about her design.

Trusting you not to comment there; I will ban you from here if you do.

Skip to toolbar