* Everyone who hosted me on their blog site, interviewed me, commented, and otherwise let me ramble about myself and my books. Yay! You can find the links in my past blog posts, and I’ll collect them soon.
* Nick Harkaway’s The Gone-Away World. This is one of those books that splits my psyche neatly into the reader half and the writer half. The reader half squeals like an anime schoolgirl, because this book features a technomagical apocalypse, mind screws, badass women, excellent dialogue, and really amazing writing in general oh my God, plus mythological references that turn out to be appropriate on two levels.
The writer half is aware that I will never write this. This is not a matter of competing–there’s a lot of reading time in the world, and a lot of people, and whatever–but rather, the fact that I will never write this, and even if I do, it doesn’t matter, because Harkaway has already written it. The writer half wants to kick him in the shins and then sit down and drink vodka and cry for an hour, because the writer half is kind of a whiny little dorkface. This happens to me a fair amount; I suspect it’s an occupational hazard.
Anyhow, it is awesome and you should read it.
* Mass Effect 2. I am skipping the Mass Effect 3 controversy of doom for now, insofar as I haven’t played it and DLC and general wackiness. ME2, on the other hand, is great. On a story level, the plot works really well, integrating the central mystery, the nobody-comes-back-from-this mission, and even all of the recruitment sidequests. (The sub-sidequests are still a “…so, I’m trying to save the galaxy and also solving your relationship problems because I am the ONLY COMPETENT PERSON IN THE UNIVERSE, apparently…” but it’s a video game, so that happens.) The various romances work really well for me*, particularly Garrus (awkward buddy guy) and Thane (doomed ex-assassin guy), but again, some of the best moments were with people I can’t romance at all, like Grunt and Samara and Mordin. (Oh my God, Mordin. Tuchanka. Crying like a six-year-old who didn’t get a pony ride, I’m telling you.)
Also, this game contains Morally Shady Martin Sheen. The problem is that I keep wanting to agree with him, even when he’s suggesting severely wrong courses of action, because…he’s President Bartlett! He knows stuff! He rants in Latin and waxes technical about carving knives! *Clearly* I should do what he says. My gaming group suggests that this is actually an AU where President Bartlett, embittered by the events of his second term, sought immortality and founded Cerberus. I’d buy it.
On a gameplay level? Awesome. So awesome. I know that there are people out there who took issue with the fact that you just buy upgrades and don’t have to compare thirty-seven different types of weapons/ammo/etc with no clear best option. Not to be judgmental, but these people are wrong and also dumb. If you want a game about non-intuitive inventory management, go download Nethack.
* Raspberry M&Ms: So tasty! And, according to Wikipedia, M&M/Mars is getting on board with the fair trade/ethical chocolate thing, which is excellent.
*As in Dragon Age, I do keep inadvertently hitting on people when choosing the “nice” option. Damn my inescapable charm!