Phaedrus' Street Crew
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About SuperHarman

  • Rank
    Thumb Tourist
  • Birthday 12/11/1981


  • Location
    Melbourne, Australia
  • Favorite Games
    Beyond Good and Evil, Mass Effect, Grim Fandango, Deus Ex, GTA, Braid...
  1. Books, books, books...

    This year I've gone back to an older reading method where I'll read something fairly heavy, literary or contemporary followed by something a little easier, in both cases so far, it has been classic science fiction. The Clasp by Sloane Crosley: Fun but very light. I enjoyed spending time with the characters but didn't feel it was particularly memorable. Gateway by Frederick Pohl: Really enjoyed this, found a lot of touch points where it's influence on contemporary sci fi video games in particular was clear. Purity by Jonathan Franzen: I know they're not for everyone but I really enjoy these Franzen family "epics." Lots of variation and shifting through time periods here that had me pretty gripped all the way through. Currently reading: Wasp by Eric Frank Russell
  2. The Idle Book Club 13: Never Let Me Go

    I actually used Never Let Me Go as a novel examined in my honours thesis. The main concept of the thesis as a whole was exploring was use of "popular" genre conventions in a literary context (other novels explored were The Road and The Handmaid's Tale). I contrasted it with The Island which was the pop action version of a similar story framed as an action chase film. Never Let Me Go instead shows the characters becoming depressingly accepting of their reality. I'll just copy and paste a paragraph from another concept I found interesting which I'll just leave here: "There is a strong parallel between the students of the Hailsham School and the stereotypical image of a bohemian art student. Kathy and her friends are generally well read and a number of them are talented artists. They often discuss literature and are shown to be well educated in such areas. In this, it feels as if Ishiguro is using this idea metaphorically to suggest that unfortunately, artistic pursuits must give way to reality. The characters in the novel must eventually give in to the real world. Any artistic pursuits they had were seemingly a waste of time." Pretty depressing conclusion to come to really.
  3. Books, books, books...

    After seeing Looper finally on Friday night it reminded me a medium level Philip K. Dick novel, it also made me realise that I hadn't read one of his books for well over a year with the last one being Time Out of Joint (I've read about 15 all up). The only one I have on my to read pile is one of his realist novels Humpty Dumpty in Oakland so that shall be my next book. As for Pamuk's The Silent House, it was okay but you can really tell this is an early novel as a lot of the themes he seems to explore later in his career are touched on but not really dominant. Interestingly enough I seemed to be the only one in my reading group that found the novel at least somewhat enjoyable.
  4. 1 books at a time or multiple

    I can only do one at the time but I might read a graphic novel on the side. I had a friend once question how many stories I was following at once as he took into account video games, comics, books and television series he said that the amount of stories I was following at once wasn't even something he wanted to consider. Since then I've really been a one at a time type other than comics but I generally only follow about 5 or so monthly titles and its been a while since I've followed a long form story television show.
  5. Comics Extravaganza - Pow Bang Smash!

    Finished up Safe Area Gorazde. Harrowing, I don't know if the Bosnian war is necessarily a forgotten conflict but this book is a detailed account of the people who lived through it and the atrocities they witnessed. I was reading this one on public transport and not only did I have to hide some of the more graphic pages, I also had to hold back the tears.
  6. Oryx and Crake & The Year of the Flood - Margaret Atwood

    Yeah, like I said it has been a couple of years now so my memory is a little hazy but that is generally how I felt for the most part. The book felt a little unnecessary and yet, I remember enjoying parts of it, particularly what I think was a vegetarian cult, but I could be mistaking that.
  7. Oryx and Crake & The Year of the Flood - Margaret Atwood

    Yeah, I thought Oryx and Crake was great but wasn't as impressed with Year of the Flood. It's been a couple of years since I read both now so my comments may be a little lost in parts but I felt that Atwood approached the subject with a very curious eye, these books almost seem a reply to all those claiming that The Handmaids Tale is a work of science fiction which is another argument entirely, part of it being that Atwood seems to hate labels often placed on her. I think it is like you said, O&C works better because the characters are stronger, while I thought that some of the stories were compelling in Year of the Flood, overall it just seemed to make the world smaller. It's an issue that post-disaster fiction often has where by coincidence, characters that knew each other prior both survived and run into each other later. Atwood does have a skill though of creating a well drawn environment, everything in the lead up to the disaster feels like the end of days but also feels so close to reality and I appreciated her fleshing out the world she had created a little more. The issue there was that by the end, I wasn't so sure I needed that world to be explored more than it was in O&C. I am always interested in the more literary take on post-apocalyptic fiction like these, The Road and The final two parts of Cloud Atlas. I'd also suggest Paul Auster's In the Country of Last Things which felt more like The Road in the way it avoids the cause.
  8. Comics Extravaganza - Pow Bang Smash!

    I'm getting through Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco at roughly the same pace that I got through Palestine. Both are very much worth reading however they can leave you feeling a little flat after a chapter or two in trying to come to terms with these situations.
  9. Have y'all been following this HR287 business?

    This sounds like what we have in Australia only here it also covers film, therefore indie games (recent example: Retro City Rampage) don't come out here because they don't want to pay the Office of Film and Literature Classification for a rating. It was also why a number of games were banned because we didn't have an adult rating for video games. Thankfully some games that aren't submitted to the OFLC like Retro City Rampage and The Walking Dead come out on PC so I can actually play them.
  10. Dear Esther

    Yeah, loved this game, I was also the one who asked the question on it for the Ruination cast. It makes me wish for more games like this where the narrative is entirely open to interpretation and requires the player as an active participant. When people have questioned to me if this is a game or not I generally go with that line of thought, it is, but the puzzle isn't something you put together in the game itself, it is something you put together in your head like you would a novel or film of similar narrative construction. It also contains an absolutely beautiful sequence which I really shouldn't spoil for those who haven't gotten to it.
  11. Books, books, books...

    Really need to keep up with this thread more often just to make sure I'm up to date with what I'm reading myself. Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman by Louis de Bernieres was great. I've never really been a big reader of magic realism but this and The Stone Raft have buried me in it pretty deep which has only continued...but more on that soon. It was funny and quite pointed with a variety of interpretations to be taken from it. As a part of a book club at work I read The Engagement by Chloe Hooper, it was okay but it became a bit obvious to the point where I picked the twist far sooner than I would have liked. Back to magic realism and I thought I go to one of the big ones with Gabriel Garcia Marquez' One Hundred Years of Solitude. I haven't finished it yet, I have about 80 or so pages to go but unless it somehow becomes an unreadable mess I think it will find a place among the best novels I've read. It makes me want to learn Spanish just so I can read it in its original tongue. Beautifully written and the imagery is among the strongest I've read in fiction. Picked up a copy of Love in the Time of Cholera too which I will get to some time this year. Next up is Silent House by Orhan Pamuk for another book club. From there, I have a friend who wants me to read Atlas Shrugged so we can compare notes as she also reads it but I'm reluctant to say the least. Maybe Peter Carey's The True History of the Kelly Gang or something by Salman Rushdie, we'll see.
  12. Double Fine Amnesia Fortnight 2012

    So I voted for about 7 games...but can people please vote for Echelon or tell me about a similar game because it sounds pretty great.
  13. Books, books, books...

    Since posting last I've read Paul Auster's Invisible which I thought was strong. I'm a pretty big Auster fan in general and found this one to be pretty engaging with a number of solid undercurrents to keep the whole thing interesting as a work. I also read (as a part of a book club I'm involved in) J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy. Not all that good really, it was engaging enough and moved along but I just found the characters a little two dimensional and some of the writing here is really sub standard. Currently reading Louis de Bernieres' The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzmann, I'm about 100 pages through and it is great so far.
  14. Got it. In the middle of another book right now but hopefully I can get through it in time, if not I'll read and enjoy the discussion later.
  15. The Idle Book Club 2: Cloud Atlas

    Will need to collect my thoughts and maybe go back to this a little. I read it about a year ago, loved it and have a lot to say about it, will probably e-mail them through.