Video Game Review – Virtue’s Last Reward

Virtue’s Last Reward (VLR) is a 2012 visual novel adventure game developed by Chunsoft for the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita. The game is the second installment in the Zero Escape series, following 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors (999), which was released in 2009. While I have not formally reviewed 999 before, I have written about it quite glowingly. Being a visual novel the game primarily features lengthy narrative sections broken up by “Escape Rooms,” which are environments where the player character Sigma must investigate and solve puzzles in to progress.Read More »

Book Review – Science Fiction: A Very Short Introduction by David Seed

Summary from the inside cover:

Science Fiction has proved notoriously difficult to define, but has emerged as one of the most popular genres of our times; not only in literature, but also in drama, poetry, and film. David Seed explores this often unconventional genre in relation to themes such as science and technology, space, aliens, utopias, gender, and its relation to time past, present, and future.

ScienceFiction

Science Fiction: A Very Short Introduction by David Seed is part of the extensive Very Short Introductions collection published by Oxford University Press, containing nearly 400 volumes on a wide array of different subjects. This volume — 271 — discusses the science fiction genre, focusing on its key trappings, such as voyages into space, technology, and alien encounters.Read More »

Book Review – Suspended in Dusk, edited by Simon Dewar

Summary from Goodreads:

DUSK. A time between times. A whore hides something monstrous and finds something special. A homeless man discovers the razor blade inside the apple. Unlikely love is found in the strangest of places. Secrets and dreams are kept… forever. Or was it all just a trick of the light? Suspended in Dusk brings together 19 stories by some of the finest minds in Dark Fiction.

DuskCover

While I love horror as a genre in film and gaming, I’ve only had minimal experience with its literature. To help remedy this, I decided to not only pick up some horror fiction, but go out of my way to find something more obscure. I dug up a business card I picked up at Fan Expo last year from Books of the Dead, a horror publisher, which led me to this anthology. Since each story is rather short, I will not be summarizing any of them in a specific way.

What I will say is the book is unified by a dusk motif: in some way or another each story incorporates this time of day as an idea, figuratively and/or literally, such as a peculiar event occurring during this time. Dusk is rarely a crucial aspect of each story, more of a narrative aesthetic that connects them all together.Read More »

TV Series Review – Orange is the New Black Season 4

Piper

Following the completion of season three, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Orange is the New Black going forward. As I said in my review last year, the season didn’t have a crystal clear focus. The cast continued to be stellar and the characters compelled me as they were further fleshed out, but a lot of the season felt like the series was getting a little too comfortable with itself. Many ill winds were blowing for Litchfield that season however, promising a lot while only going as far as laying a foundation. Season four built upon this foundation a phenomenally structured season, making good on the foreshadowing of season three, and giving us their darkest season yet.Read More »