Tag: dystopia

Rethinking Brain Eating

If he feels vindicated, he doesn’t show it. As Marc Laidlaw waits for his co-workers to finish a talk, we sit down at a table in San Francisco’s cavernous Moscone Center and talk about Half-Life 2 (Valve, 2004). Its 1998 predecessor is legendary for pushing the form both […]

The Trouble with Endings

I’ve noticed recently that otherwise good stories have been let down by their endings. It’s partly due to the expectations of the audience: you can imagine any kind of ending you want, but when the ending finally arrives, it’s been narrowed down to a single one of those […]

A Real Conundrum

If you’ve seen the movie Sideways, you may remember Paul Giamatti’s character discussing his imminent book deal with a certain small-press publisher named Conundrum. “Conundrum?!” I thought between fistfuls of popcorn. “No, it can’t be.” How did Andy Brown — the mensch behind Montreal indie publisher Conundrum Press […]

The Scientist-Hero Returns

I was a little nervous as I waited for Half-Life 2 (Vivendi, 2004) to start. The original Half-Life (Sierra, 1998) is one of the reasons this column exists — the game brought atmosphere and intelligence to the first-person shooter without skimping on the visceral kickassocity, and brought me […]

Fahrenheit the First

Fahrenheit 451 is one of Ray Bradbury’s most famous books, and it reads like a fever dream — intensely cinematic, directed by its own weird dream logic, and full of the quality of images that haunt you for days. The book is a cautionary tale about what happens […]

Antagonistic Amusement

Now that the Matrix franchise has collapsed under its own hype and mystical mumbo-jumbo, it’s refreshing to see a well-executed cyberpunk tale in what is perhaps its ideal medium: the videogame. Because it’s not just about the style — the leather overcoats and the sunglasses — that shit […]