Cliffy B. is pretty awesome…

This is actually from MTV via Shacknews:

“What other entertainment medium that’s mass market is at $60 a pop?” said Cliff Bleszinski. … So he doesn’t want $60. He doesn’t want $50. “I would kill to have a [top-quality] game that’s jam-packed with an amazing story and amazing moments and four hours long and costs 20 bucks.” He said it’s possible, if only the industry cut costs by making games shorter and sweeter, but that too many gamers and publishers demand 20-hour games that are filled with the padding of having gamers repeat the same tasks again and again.”

Cliffy B. does have a point and I agree with him but….and it is a rather large one, the game has to be both “shorter and sweeter”. The last game I actually purchased was Day of Defeat: Source (for $20). No single-player to speak of, but the fast, well crafted online gameplay has more than made up for the cost. With my current enthusiasm towards the game market the next game you’ll hear of me purchasing is Duke Nukem Forever.

Hear that George? Get yer ass in gear.

As I was saying, shorter and sweeter, ain’t gonna happen. Shorter maybe. But not sweeter. Are games like this possible? I’ll believe it when I see it. Can anyone really see EA actually improving their QC department? That poor monkey would be out of a job. Anyway, the gaming industry can go f*** themselves.

At least until the Revoluion comes out, then Miyamoto will lead us to a magical land of peace and harmony and all will be right with the world.

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Birds…..

Little known fact about myself: I have a favorite bird family, Corvidae. Particularly the genus corvus, which is composed of crows and ravens (though I would remiss not to include our friend the Jackdaw). You can check out Wiki’s list of corvus species if you’re interested. Moslty my infatuation with crows and raven extends from two main sources, norse mythology and fiction. Odin had his twin ravens Hugin (thought) and Munin (memory), in Charles de Lint’s novel Someplace to be Flying the character Jack Daw was a collector of tales (and often accompanied by the strange Crow twins), in Steven Erikson’s Deadhouse Gates the Crow Clan is featured prominantly and in his other works the “Great Ravens” are featured as secondary characters, and in George R.R. Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series the Night’s Watch is tied closely to raven imagery (the Lord Commander even has a pet raven that speaks). The list goes on but the crow and the raven are staples in fantasy literature. What this is all leading to, of course, are a few interesting books on our black-feathered friends.

Ravensong: A Natural and Fabulous History of Ravens and Crows, by Catherine Feher-Elston. This book goes into the Native American ties to the crow and the raven while at the same time, according to Amazon’s description, ties this to recent ornithological research.

Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds, by Bernd Heinrich. This seems as much a personal narrative as a scientific study. The Amazon sight had some good comments from Publisher’s Weekly that made me want to read the book. This one also had the highest Amazon customer rating with the most customer reviews.

Bird Brains: The Intellegence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays, by Candace Savage. This one sounds a little more photograph heavy and certainly had less information in the Editorial comments, but might still be worth a look for a general overview of some members of the coridae family.

The American Crow and the Common Raven, by Lawrence Kilham. This seems to be the more traditional natural history study of crows and ravens. The few customer reviews seem impressed by the work though.

Crow, by Boria Sax. I think this one might get the prize for most intrigueing cover art, really simple but asceticly pleasing. This is another one that tackles both natural history and folklore/mythology

These books really only scratch the surface of corvid literature.

Don’t Expect Frequent Updates

Don’t blame my laziness for lack of updates. Though I’m sure it’s a contributor. Mostly it is the fact that I have two papers, a presentation, and a take home exam all due next week. With another two papers and some short presentations the following week as well. So, I’m slightly busy. Not to mention I haven’t even started to think about Christmas gifts yet (amazon.com is open 24 hours, thank God!).

I did get to spend a little time the other day trying to find some new books to read in December/January. For the most part I was using the fantastic Locus website and the website for the World Fantasy awards. I haven’t spoken much about it recently but I’ve gotten a little tired ok the generic fantasy novel and I’ve been trying really hard to find something with more adult themes and a somewhat “fresh” style. I found two books that seem to fit the bill:

Virconium, by M. John Harrison. This is an omnibus edition of several novels from the 70s and 80s set in the city of Virconium. Harrison, as I understand, is one of the forbears of China Meilville, whose work is some of the most entertaining and original stuff I’ve seen in a long time. Unlike most traditional fantasy, with it’s lengthy quests and high adventure, I’m hoping that the city setting will lend a different tone to what goes.

The Etched City, by K. J. Bishop. This is another one set in a city and the story according to the synopsis on the author’s website and at amazon.com seem to hint at a focus on the seedy underbelly of the fantasy world. The Locus review snippet on the author’s page goes so far as to compare the author’s style to the work Jorge Luis Borges; which I would consider high praise for the often marginilzed field of fantasy fiction.

Since I completed Glen Cook’s Black Company series my taste for the morally black and white world of traditional fantasy has soured (though I do still enjoy the occaisonal romp in the sentimental and romantic drivel oft called “epic fantasy”) and I have found myself far more interested in the dirt and shadows of what is often called “dark fantasy”. Both the above titles reflect this shift in taste. Anyway, class starts in 8 minutes so I better go. More later if I get a chance.