Mass Media

Diablo 3 has a problem

14 May 2012

I have some mixed feelings about Diablo 3, and as is the custom among my people, I will now share those feelings with you in annoyingly granular detail. (more…)

Thoughts on Spellwright

29 October 2010

I finished reading Spellwright during my weekend trip to Vermont back in April. The book was a very fast read for me, which means it only took me twice as long to finish it as it would a normal person.

Normally, I hardly notice the delay. It just comes with the territory. People like me read slower…

I’m shying around the issue. Dyslexics like me. Dyslexics like me take longer to read a book than a normal person. I love books, but I’m slow to pick up new ones because they’re such an investment of time. With a really good book, I hardly notice. I noticed it this time though. I noticed it a lot.

Spellwright is a fantasy-adventure with some decent world building and good writing. Not necessarily a deep book, but definitely a fun one.

Unless you’re me, or someone like me. If you’ve dealt with dyslexia, then you’ll find Spellwright a bit deeper than you’d like. Why? Spellwright is a an adventure novel about our scrambled brains. Cloaked in a story of international intrigue and magical aptitude is a deeper tale of a very smart person — One who can’t string two sentences together without screwing at least one of them up.

Nicodemus Weal is a Cacographer, a wizard burdened with an inability to spell in a world where spelling is literal. Magical language is very unforgiving to the wizards who use it. All but the simplest spells die in Nicodemus’s hands. Yet this marginally functional wizard must confront a massive mess of international intrigue. He’s forced to defend himself and his mentor from accusations ranging from murder to high-treason and blasphemy.

Spellwright isn’t without a few problems. Author-self-insertion being one of them, along with a few world building gripes here and there, and my own personal dislike of magic built around glowy floaty runes (I blame MMO’s for that bad impression). Most of that is nitpicking though, if I had to name one real gripe with the book, it’s the complete wish-fulfillment plot of the protagonist not being a true Cacographer (he was cursed).

I whine and complain, but honestly I really loved Spellwright. In the end, I can sum up my feelings with one sentence: I wish I could’ve read it as a child.

This book evoked a lot of bitter memories in the midst of its entertaining plots. I rather imagine it’s a similar effect to A Wizard of Earthsea for People of Color. The revelation isn’t nearly as important or profound for a white guy with dyslexia, but I can better understand the impact now. Spellwright reaches back through the years to my impressionable youth, and tells a younger version of myself that I am not alone; There are others like me, and they can be heroes.

Loathe though I am to admit it, I can’t hate Bill Gates

17 May 2010

It’s practically a prerequisite of becoming a stereotypical geek: Build up a healthy hatred of Bill Gates.

I feathered my cap with that particular requirement back in highschool… but it looks like I have to let that hate go.

Why? Dude is working to kill malaria in our lifetime, and his most successful investment involves hunting mosquitoes down with lasers.

Friggin lasers!

Mass Effect’s muddy message.

4 May 2010

I love Mass Effect 2. I love it enough to think about it even after finished the final fight two times over. In the modern world of media saturation, that says a lot about the lasting impact of the game on attention sparse minds such as mine.

But for every bit of Mass Effect I adored, there’s still one gigantic lingering issue to tie me down. Mass Effect 2’s villains are kinda… Not evil. Kinda. Look, it’s complicated. Follow along with my logic and feel free to tell me if I’m full of it. (more…)