March A&E: The Prestige, Locke & Key, and more!

This is what I read, watched, and played in March.

Books: The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

The novel is about a young woman who is attacked by a time-traveling serial killer. I’m a sucker for time-travel stories.

He clenches the orange plastic pony in the pocket of his sports coat. It is sweaty in his hand. Mid-summer here, too hot for what he’s wearing. But he has learned to put on a uniform for this purpose; jeans in particular. He takes long strides — a man who walks because he’s got somewhere to be, despite his gimpy foot. Harper Curtis is not a moocher. And time waits for no one. Except when it does.

Graphic Novels: Locke & Key by Joe Hill (writer) and Gabriel Rodriguez (illustrator)

First off, Locke & Key was difficult to read because horrible things happen to the main characters. (Most of this happens in the first hardback issue.) Locke & Key is an intriguing horror, fantasy story with likable characters. I am currently reading the fourth volume.

Movies: The Prestige by Christopher Nolan

This is probably my fourth viewing of The Prestige. I love how Nolan manipulates time in his films.

Video Games: Dark Souls 2 by From Software (again!)

I finally finished Dark Souls 2! I put over 98 hours into this dark fantasy. I enjoyed that the game narrative is not disrupted by player death. When you die in Dark Souls, you lose the souls you have collected and must return to where you died to retrieve them. (Souls are used to buy equipment or level-up.) In this way, failure is accepted in the game narrative.

Thanks for reading!

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February A&E: Books, Movies, and Video Games

This is what I read, watched, and played in February.

Books: The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Stretching over many years and five narrators, The Bone Clocks portrays hidden magic in our world. This is the first David Mitchell novel I’ve read, and I’m excited to read Slade House.

Writing: I’m writing a road-trip adventure about a young man looking for a lost book. Right now I’m at a little over 4,000 words.

TV Shows: I just finished season four of The X-Files. I especially like the episode Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man.

Movies: I watched Deadpool, and it was everything I wanted from a Deadpool adaptation. Don’t take your kids!

deadpool toy movie

“Does this count as a fourth-wall break?”

Video Games: Mass Effect by BioWare

Mass Effect is a sci-fi roleplaying game. Once I got used to the gameplay, I was absorbed by the story and player choices. You are a human soldier with an eclectic band of companions tasked with saving humanity and the other alien races. Your decisions change the outcome of the game and even carry over into the sequel.

 

The Long Sentence

Long, well-crafted sentences are beautiful. One of the longest printed sentences is a four thousand plus word behemoth from James Joyce’s Ulysses, but it is not the longest by far.

The long sentence is a way for writers to flex their literary muscles. They can be used to develop an idea, provide detailed descriptions, and create tension. But a lengthy sentence can also be confusing and annoying.

The long sentence has a similar film technique: the long take.

A great example is the six-minute long take in the first season of True Detective. In the fourth episode, the director uses a long take to amplify the tension as Rust Cohle helps a biker gang perform a dangerous plan.

I want to share a long sentence from House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski.

It’s too dark and difficult and without whim, and if you didn’t notice I’m in a whimsical (inconsequential) frame of mind right now, talking (scribbling) aimlessly and strangely about cats, enjoying all the rules in this School of Whim, the play of it,—Where Have I Moved? What Have I Muttered? Who Have I Met?—the frolic and the drift, as I go thinking now, tripping really, over the notion of eighty or more of Zampano’s dusty cats …

The entire quote is about 700 words long. To me, the passage evokes a playfulness almost like a cat playing with yarn. I love House of Leaves, and I encourage you to try that labyrinthine novel.

What do you think about long sentences? Please leave a comment using a single long sentence or post a six-minute video response because this post is about long form (so meta!), and I promise I won’t critique your grammar.

What I Read, Watched, and Played in January

Here is some of the entertainment I enjoyed last month.

Books: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

It’s a sci-fi adventure. I was very interested in how it dealt with religion and gender.

“She was probably male, to judge from the angular mazelike patterns quilting her shirt. I wasn’t entirely certain. I wouldn’t have mattered, if I had been in Radch space. Radchaai don’t care much about gender, and the language they speak—my own first language—doesn’t mark gender in any way.”

I recommend Ancillary Justice to anyone who enjoys reading sci-fi.

Writing: I’m writing something I’m calling “The Rust Belt.” It’s a road-trip adventure about feeling lost.

TV Shows: I’m finishing the first season of Daredevil.

Video Games: Dark Souls 2 by FromSoftware

Dark Souls 2

For everyone who doesn’t play video games, Dark Souls 2 is infamous for its difficulty. But I believe the greater difficulty is balanced with greater satisfaction. Plus it’s great for making friends, “Oh, you played That Thing too!” Dark Souls 2 is a long game too. It supposedly takes less time to read The Lord of the Rings than beat Dark Souls 2.

Thanks for reading!