Gavin Harrison on Letterman

NPR Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Works

NPR is now polling to see what the top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy novels are from it’s users.  It’s a great little poll I have a few issues with but you should definitely check it out and vote.

I just bristle at the fact works of Fantasy and works of Science Fiction are almost always lumped together in these types of lists by reporters who have not read extensively in either genre.  While I admit there are no less than a million ways these two genres can intermingled on the page, each genre is more than fully developed enough to justify keeping them separate.  For me I always enjoyed reading Fantasy novels but it was always for the pure pleasure.  It was the Science Fiction that I read which made me consider and question myself and the world around me.

Some authors (Philip K Dick for example) have such a depth and breadth of work I’m always hard put to vote for a single work to be recognized.  And there’s always the ‘classics’, the obvious choices which I was tasked to read in school rather than discovering them on my own.  So here’s my top ten list taken from the choices at NPR:

Neuromancer – Gibson

Man in the High Castle – Dick

Stainless Steel Rat (series) – Harrison (had to have one satiric entry on the list)

Dune – Herbert

Deathbird Stories – Ellison

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – Verne

A Clockwork Orange – Burgess

Left Hand of Darkness – LeGuin

Fahrenheit 451 – Bradbury

Solaris – Lem


Upcoming Xbox 360 Games

The hottest July in living memory for St. Louis has ended providing the prologue, reasoning, and desire to skulk down to my ice cold basement and consider this coming gaming seasons new adventures. I’m primarily a shooter/rpg player so throw me a list of the games you’re looking forward to this season if that’s not your thing.  First up are the games I’m ranking as ‘shutupandtakemymoney’:

  • Gears of War 3; release date September 20, 2011: Marcus Fenix is back with his buds and a few new players 18 months after the last victory to fight more Locusts and an even more sinister and malevolent enemy.  Improved graphics and multiplayer and co-op campaign play means the only thing that can pry me away from this game is….
  • Batman: Arkham City; release date October 18, 2011. First, if you haven’t played Batman: Arkham Asylum then you’re in for a real treat because you can get the Game of the Year addition for just $30 on Amazon.  This time around Batman and his enemies take the fight out into sprawling Gotham City.  More enemies, more tool belt goodies, more seamless fighting, more badass all around. Apologies ahead of time if I talk to you in a low, raspy and otherworldly voice.
  • Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary; release date November 15, 2011.  What else would you be doing on the tenth anniversary of the best fps shooter franchise ever? It’s been remastered to work on the 36o with an updated soundtrack, updated and tweaked maps, and the ability to play co-op for the campaign.  Note to self: get Xmas shopping done before this is released.
  • Mass Effect 3; release date March 6, 2012. Whew, looks like this rpg will get released before the apocalypse and conveniently near my birthday.  Those damn Reapers try to destroy the known universe yet again.  Continue the story arc you created playing the first two installments as Commander Shepard recruits, fights, and beds aliens in the name of saving the universe. Don’t let this series pass you by. In twenty years you’ll be going to see the Mass Effect Broadway musical.
You might note Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3  are absent.  I rate both these games ‘FU’. I find both shooter series, especially Modern Warfare, to be particularly adept at taking a metric shit tonne of my money and giving me back a ton of shitty campaign play, multiplayer filled with griefers and trolls, and a product that is not up to par on release day.
A couple of honorable mentions for August rpg releases are Deus Ex: Human Revolution on the 23rd and The Lord of the Rings: War in the North on the 24th.  Deus Ex was one of my all time favorites on PC; it will be interesting to see how it fares on a console.  LOTR: WIN has a potentially very high suck factor, but my capacity for getting suckered into buying anything with the LOTR label on it is equally as high.  I’m willing to throw this one in with Deus Ex and give it a rating of ‘rentthatshitfirst’.  Stay cool and happy gaming!
Update 8/4:
– 2K Games and Gearsoft have announced that Borderlands 2 is in development and will be released no earlier than April 2012.
Rage; release date October 4, 2011. Missed this one, looks like it’ll be similar to Borderlands only without the campy humor.