Something in the Air is a French film that follows about a six-month period in the lives of several radical high school students. The film—which was originally titled Après Mai in French (“After May”)—is set in 1971 and is primarily concerned with how the students negotiate the decline of the political movement following the May 1968 events. In viewing it, you get the sense that it isn’t just about the characters in the film, but rather is a broader commentary on May 1968, its aftereffects, and even the decline of revolutionary movements more generally. For me, it was worth watching on that level alone and the plot seemed somewhat incidental, although it definitely helps that the story is interesting and is far from being just a political essay converted to film.
I’ve been getting back into playing the tabletop roleplaying game Vampire: The Masquerade recently, and a growing obsession with the World of Darkness (as the setting is called) had me pick up a computer game I haven’t played in years: Vampire: Bloodlines.
A decade old at this point, Bloodlines has been reviewed plenty. Suffice it to say that: it set a new bar for roleplaying games; it’s immersion and writing are spectacular; it was rushed and buggy because capitalism is an awful economic system for creators; and the game’s, uh, not so perfect from a gender point of view. Continue reading Vampire: Bloodlines→
Wasteland 2 is probably the longest RPG I’ve ever played, and it doesn’t really have the payoff I feel entitled to after investing so many hours into play. I bet someone’s already come up with some great pun off the name, like “waste-your-life too.” If someone didn’t beat me to it, then I just did.
Still, it’s a game up my alley and I enjoyed it. It’s got tactical, turn-based combat, lots of skills and attributes, and it’s got a good immersive world to play in.
In Wasteland 2, you play a post-apocalyptic cop, one of the elite saviors of humanity known as the Desert Rangers. You’ve got a badge and a gun and you shoot a lot of “raiders.”
Why is it so important in video games that you can buy sex?
I study anarchist fiction. I read fiction that anarchists write and I read what other people write about what anarchists do. And in all that time, I can’t say I’ve read anarchist fiction that’s more deeply engaged and poetic than Liminal, a novella published by Black and Green Press.
To be honest, I’m cynical about activist fiction (or whatever you want to call it when people hoping to transform the world write fiction). I’m cynical for a bunch of reasons (most of which I learned by interviewing people who are much smarter than me). For one thing, fiction is generally more adept at asking questions than it is at providing answers. For another thing, writing fiction is really fucking hard to do well, and most anarchists and radicals and activists just haven’t put in the work required to create beautiful, compelling narratives. Continue reading Liminal by Natasha Alvarez→
I like Philip K. Dick. I appreciate how earnestly weird he is. Do Andriods Dream of Electric Sheep meant almost as much to teenaged me as Blade Runner did. Dick was a pioneer of science fiction that explores the mental and spiritual landscape instead of just outer space.
I’ve been thinking about it for weeks, and I still don’t know how I feel about Night Moves. My informal poll of eco-anarchists (okay, I asked two people) is split right down the middle: it’s an excellent movie except for the end, or it’s garbage the whole way through.
But the thing is, it was still stuck in my head. The very least I can say is that it’s not an inconsequential film. So I tracked down the screenwriter, Oregon novelist Jonathan Raymond, and interviewed him.
Recommended? Not for what it’s got to say about the world, no.
I’m not too much one for first-person shooters but I’m an anarchist and I’m into steampunk and videogames so it was pretty much inevitable that I was going to give BioShock: Infinite a try.
This game is completely full of class war and anti-racist tropes. I mean, like, completely full. So full it’s overflowing and honestly the tropes are starting to smell and shouldn’t someone clean this thing out before they start to rot?
In BioShock: Infinite you play a disinterested white savior with the higher moral ground who runs around killing first racists and then the anti-racist revolutionaries. The moral of the story is that anyone who wants to solve problems like institutionalized racism and classism with revolutionary violence is a bad person who is going to take things too far. Unless you’re the protagonist, an ex-Pinkerton agent who kills hundreds of people over the course of the game in the name of a paycheck. In which case, you’re in a good place to judge. Continue reading BioShock: Infinite→
Summary:Shadowrun Returns: Dragonfall is a fun, incredibly well-written computer roleplaying game that takes place in a good-guy-anarchists-against-evil-megacorporations future. It nods to punk anti-fascism; it makes fun of state communists; there are multiple, non-sexualized homosexual relationships; and there’s awesome German graffiti everywhere in the background. So yes, I like this game. It didn’t get everything perfect, but it got a hell of a lot right.
There’s always going to be a place in my heart for Shadowrun. I think I was in fourth grade when a friend introduced me to the world for the first time, handing me the second edition core book. There on the cover were a bunch of punk humans and elves, hacking a computer terminal in the middle of a gunfight. Continue reading Shadowrun Returns: Dragonfall→