Gaming and Surviving the Internet in Chris Kluwe’s Otaku

In Infinite Game—a virtual world that spans the globe with varying lands, missions, and levels of difficulty—Ashley Akachi is Ashura the Terrible, leader of the SunJewel Warriors. Her all-women team is one of the best, constantly pulling off impressive feats and racking up prizes, money, status and the occasional death threat.

In the real world, Ash lives in Ditchtown, formerly Miami, a run-down city where hackers, Gamers, and the low-income class gather, making the most of their lives on and off the ‘Net. Ash has to deal with her brother Kiro growing distant and more obsessed with the Game, and making enough money to take care of her mother, an ex-solider, in intensive rehab, all while keeping a low profile from angry Gamers.

While running a side job for Sawyer, one of the members of the current government, Ash has a run-in with an old team member that goes awry and discovers a plot that can throw Ditchtown and other sectors into turmoil once more. Now it’s up to her and the legendary SunJewel Warriors to pull off one more encounter before the Game gets too real.

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This “Slightly More Scientific” Personality Quiz Will Give You the Definitive List of Pop Culture Characters You Match

If you’re looking for a way to while away the hours in self-isolation, it might be a good time to definitively find out—once and for all—all the pop culture characters you have jostling for sovereignty inside of you. That was the idea at (the now-virtual) HQ at least, where we all took the Open-Source Psychometrics’ Project’s Statistical “Which Character” Personality Quiz.

Go take it, and click through for the staff and contributor’s results!

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Amazon’s Tales From the Loop Captures the Moody Atmosphere of Simon Stålenhag’s Art

Giant buildings loom over the distant skyline, while giant robots and machines dot the surface of a rural landscape. Those elements make up many of the paintings that Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag has produced over the years, and which are now the basis of a new series from Amazon Prime Video, Tales From the Loop

Stålenhag has risen to prominence in recent years with his nostalgia-laced art, which he has since published in a pair of art books, Tales From the Loop and Things from the Flood. (Another, Electric State, reflects much of the same format, but isn’t set in the same world.) Featuring stark, haunting images of a sort of urban decay, on their surface they seem like an unlikely source for a dramatic television series. But Amazon’s Tales From the Loop is an intriguing, beautiful series that looks for the humanity amidst the fantastical. 

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Bad Birthdays and Tragic Hugs: Checking in With Outlander

Can we all agree that this was the worst birthday ever for James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser? You can’t help but wonder if the universe has something against him for reaching 50, as Outlander season 5’s midseason episode is all about the constant bargaining of life in times of war. In the space of an hour, “The Ballad of Roger Mac” delivered the loss of a beloved character, an old favorite figuratively coming back from the dead, and one man’s fate hanging in the balance.

We were going to wait to tackle the midseason review until after “Famous Last Words” resolves that hell of a cliffhanger, but seeing as Outlander is taking a brief break before then, we thought it appropriate to give this episode the proper discussion it deserves.

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Regrets, I’ve Had a Few — Star Trek: Picard First Season Overview

In my review of the first-season finale of Picard, I used the famous Anton Chekhov metaphor about how if you hang a gun on the wall early in the story, it should be fired late in the story. While I think that metaphor remains apt, I think an even better one to discuss the first season of Picard as a whole is juggling a lot of hard-boiled eggs.

The show caught most of them, but a few fell to the ground, and a few of those shattered when they hit.


Jo Walton’s Reading List: March 2020

Well, March sure was a peculiar month. I was home, and then I was home in self-isolation, which I still am. But I started the New Decameron Project with Maya Chhabra and Lauren Schiller, so I have been snowed under reading stories and writing frame bits, and also setting up online socialising things which are sanity saving (I’m still not an introvert) but take time. Also, some of the things I read this month were extremely long. So I have read only fourteen books in March, and here they are…

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Korra and Asami Will Perform a Live Reading of The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars

Korrasami stans rejoice: Korra and Asami themselves—that is, voice actors Janet Varney and Seychelle Gabriel—will be performing a live-reading of the first chapter of Turf Wars, the three-part graphic novel spin-off of The Legend of KorraThe event is organized by Dark Horse, who will stream it via their Twitch channel on Monday, April 6, at 2 pm PT.

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Blogging the Nebulas: Sarah Pinsker’s A Song for a New Day Is 2020 Captured Between Two Covers

The Nebula Awards could be described as the Academy Awards of SFF literature; they are voted on by the professional peers of the award nominees—members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. There are six nominees in the best novel category this year. Every few weeks between now and the announcement of the winner on May 30, I will be reviewing each of them and figuring their odds of taking home the prize. Welcome to Blogging the Nebulas 2020.

The Pitch

Sarah Pinsker’s A Song for a New Day is a different novel today than it was when she dreamed it up (growing from the seed of the 2015 novelette “Our Lady of the Open Road”), different than when it was published last September, than when it was nominated for the Nebula, than when I read it last week (and this review isn’t scheduled to publish until more than a week from when I am writing these words, by which point it will have changed again).

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All the New Genre Bending Books Arriving in April!

The whispers wake you from a deep sleep. It has been so quiet, but you can hear the voices growing restless. They’re yearning, they’re angry, and they’re coming for you. This month’s genre-bending releases are all about deals you can’t take back. Find out what really happens in the woods in You Let Me In by Camilla Bruce; court a man with silver skin in The Unsuitable by Molly Pohlig; and find magic in a new story collection by Madeline L’Engle, The Moment of Tenderness.

Head below for the full list of genre bending titles heading your way in April!

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Read an Excerpt From Caroline Stevermer’s The Glass Magician

New York 1905—The Vanderbilts. The Astors. The Morgans. They are the cream of society—and they own the nation on the cusp of a new century. Thalia Cutler doesn’t have any of those family connections. What she does know is stage magic and she dazzles audiences with an act that takes your breath away.

That is, until one night when a trick goes horribly awry. In surviving she discovers that she can shapeshift, and has the potential to take her place among the rich and powerful.

But first, she’ll have to learn to control that power…before the real monsters descend to feast.

A magical and romantic tale set in New York’s Gilded Age, Caroline Stevermer’s The Glass Magician is available April 7th from Tor Books—read an excerpt below!

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Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Non Sequitur”

“Non Sequitur”
Written by Brannon Braga
Directed by David Livingston
Season 2, Episode 5
Production episode 122
Original air date: September 25, 1995
Stardate: 49001

Captain’s log. Kim wakes up from a dream that includes Janeway trying to contact him on a shuttlecraft to find himself in bed in the apartment he shares in San Francisco’s Old Town neighborhood with his fiancée Libby. This confuses him, as he and Libby were not engaged when Voyager was lost—and, well, he should be on Voyager. Libby tells him the date, which is the date he thinks it is, but everything is different.

[Why does everyone say, “Relax!” when they’re about to do something terrible?]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

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