What Did You Just Finish?


#1

I’m a fan of threads like these for getting recommendations and seeing what other people are into at a given time, so, here we go:

What did you just finish?
What medium is it (game, film, video, tv, anime, book, album, etc)?
What’d you think?
Would you recommend it?
Is it necessary to look up content warnings before starting it?


#2

I just finished The Broken Earth Trilogy by NK Jemisin. I definitely recommend it, but I felt that its pacing made it difficult to engage with, as, in my opinion, each book in the trilogy starts very slow, however then builds towards a satisfying climax. The way the series was described to me is: what if the X Men was post apocalyptic fantasy that implicitly took Magneto’s side. And that sold me on it (and lived up to that premise).

People should definitely look up content warnings for these books as they deal with various types of abuse, violence, classism, and prejudice.


#3

Ooooh I read the first one a month or two ago and I really want to get into the rest, that first book was really great.

I just finished Lucah: Born of a Dream. It’s a really special game that should get more attention, the art style is absolutely unique, and the combat system is deep as hell for a small independent game like this. There’s a new game plus with a bunch of interesting features as well that I’m looking forward to getting into.


#4

Find You in the Dark by Nathan Ridley.

It’s a chase the intelligent serial killer style thriller, in the style of Thomas Harris (Red Dragon) but less gruesome. The premise is that a man is obsessed with finding the remains of serial killer victims that were never found by the police. Drama unfolds as one of the killers figures out what he’s been doing (I don’t think this is really a spoiler, you can see this coming a mile away)

It was well written but nothing that really stood out to me. Here’s a bit of what’s going through my head after finishing:

Thinking about the mass gun killings that happen almost monthly here in the US…our paralysis to do anything about it…not some fictional Hannibal Lecter but random broken people …

The whole story is kind of a battle of wits between three intelligent people: the detective, the killer, and the body finder. You clearly are supposed to root for the Finder…I wanted to root for the detective, but she just keeps being a terrible “my gut tells me this guy is guilty, fuck proper procedure” cop. The killer is just a monster, almost no humanity there.

Content Warnings, yes descriptions of violence and murder.


#5

CW: Slavery, racism

I just finished The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins by Mark Twain. It is a great book written in the 1890’s about slavery, family, and the absurdity of racism. I am reading it for an advanced theory of literary critique, so we accompanied the book with some pieces by Foucault (also Bloodborne=Foucault) and Barthes.

There are two things I really liked about it. The first is the idea that Mark Twain wrote a book about slavery in the 1890’s, 30 years after slavery was abolished. This highlights the failures of the reconstruction to rid America of inequality. Additionally this is a tragedy, as referenced by the title. The tragedy is that Pudd’nhead Wilson comes to the conclusion that race (and racism) are systematic constructs of society, and therefore meaningless, but chooses not to do anything about it.

It’s a really good book, and a quick read. If you can find the Norton copy of the book that has both The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary twins, I would recommend it. I think it’s a much better introduction to Twain than Huckleberry Finn or Tom Sawyer.

Content warnings in the book for slavery, racism, and the n-word.


#6

what if the X Men was post apocalyptic fantasy that implicitly took Magneto’s side

Dang, that’s a good hook. That being said, the covers for this series are terrible. Take a look. Definitely something I’ll check out on my Kindle, though!


#7

I just finished Yakuza 0 and am diving headfirst into Kiwami. Easy recommend. CWs: allusions to rape in the backstory, some blood and judicious violence.

I also finally got around to reading (listening on audiobook) the original book version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and enjoyed it as well. I don’t remember the movie too well so I’ll probably try to see it again soon to see how they compare. CWs: also rape and murder.

Damn, need a combo breaker… uhhh… I saw Blindspotting and it’s the best movie of the year; go see it! CWs: racism, white privilege, and gentrification.


#8

I just finished Rime after putting waiting for the performance patches on Switch. It’s a slow burn of a video game but I really enjoyed it. It has the climbing/puzzle dynamics of something like Tomb Raider with the quiet contemplation of Journey. I don’t think it reaches either of those heights, but I think it does a good job of achieving what it wanted to accomplish.

I’d recommend it, but it likely runs smoother on something that isn’t the Switch. The only CW would be for death.


#9

I’ve been working through my movie backlog before getting back to some games I’ve been meaning to polish off.

Baby Driver - An entertaining, quick movie. All style and little to no substance, but what style it has. Highly recommend if you’re in the mood for some action brain candy.

Alien Covenant - What if Alien got back to its horror roots, but not restrained tension building horror but more slasher movie look at all this squicky blood horror? Visually these movies continue to be incredibly striking with great cinematography and set design, but completely falter with more or less everything else.


#10

I beat the third scenario in FROSTPUNK and I like that game a lot.


#11

I just finished The Dispossessed by Ursula K Le Guin. As a Leftist getting increasingly frustrated with how close yet so far mainstream stories have gotten to honest discussions about anarchism, revolution, and class struggle (Killmonger was right), it was unbelievably refreshing to read something that goes ALL IN on the topic.

The book is about the capitalist planet of Urras and its anarcho-syndicalist moon of Annares. Two hundred or so years before the novel takes place an anarchist revolutionary named Odo gains a huge following on Urras and in order to prevent an overthrow, Odo and her followers are allowed to permanently settle the moon as an independent nation/colony and set up their society as they see fit. After the settlement there is a near-complete break in communication between the two worlds.

The novel alternates chapters going back and forth in time. Half the chapters are about the main character Shevek, a theoretical physicist, growing up and coming of age on Annares. The other half shows an older Shevek as the first person from Annares to go back to Urras, trying to use the universal language of science to bridge the divide between the two worlds. Both sides of the novel are equally fascinating. The earlier half gives a fascinating amount of detail about Annares’ anarchist utopia – what works, what could be improved, how people disagree on improving it, etc. It’s a fascinating dive into a type of leftism I hadn’t really considered before and seems to say pretty loudly “this could be great but it’s really hard to pull off.”. The later half gives some incredibly sharp, quotable criticisms of capitalism from the perspective of someone who has only ever known the best kind of equality and solidarity.

There’s not very much action (with one extremely notable exception) but I couldn’t put it down. I can’t recommend it highly enough for people who enjoy intellectually engaging sci-fi, and especially to people interested in leftism and a well-rounded depiction of a leftist utopia.


#13

I recently finished a complete rewatch of Futurama. As expected, the show goes through a pretty severe decline in quality the season it went to Comedy Central. There are still great moments and a few great episodes, especially the last one. Fry seeing his mother again in a dream almost made me cry, and that’s well into the last season. (Also the montage with Leela’s parents always gets me, the dog montage does not.)

My one observation though is that the show never is good with gender episodes. It starts bad with the transphobic ‘Bend Her’ and somehow during the course of a decade the writers only get lazier and more awful with the issue. There’s the awful ‘Into the Wild Green Yonder’ that manages to mangle environmentalism at the same time. Finally the last episode on the topic ‘Neutopia’ is just the shittiest thing they’ve ever done, a terrible episode designed to offend anybody with genitals of any kind. I have no idea why the writers keep going back to that well if the topic seems to truly disinterest them, I guess because the jokes are easy low-hanging fruit.

However, even that decline is still miles better than what happened to Family Guy’s reboot. shudders


#14

Just finished Metal Gear Solid again the other day, and MGSV’s first credits a few days before that. I fell down a MGS hole as I watched a bunch of Metal Gear Scanlon, and the way my brain works makes me want to play the games I watch and I become very focused on a series.

MGS1 is still a fantastic game, still plays well, with the story and aesthetics very much holding up. Meanwhile MGSV is a bummer in most things beyond the core stealth gameplay and level design.

I finished the Destiny 2 Forsaken campaign if that counts? I still like that game a lot while the reddits of the world continue to be red in the face about it.

Also I’m a good 60 episodes from finishing watching all of original Dragon Ball for the first time, so I’ll get back to you on that.


#15

can we talk about how weird it is that the Genome Soldiers can follow footprints in the snow and they never, ever have the opportunity except on the ONE SCREEN where it is introduced


#16

Metal Gear is bananas with bespoke things like that and I love it.


#17

I finished it this weekend, too, and have been thinking of spinning up a Let’s Talk Forsaken thread because I want a venue to discuss that doesn’t have the mile a minute pace of the discord. It’s a very good campaign! And wow Forsaken puts a lot on the table to do.


#18

I finished watching The Let Down, a Netflix series about new parents. It’s … pretty funny and very awkward/uncomfortable at times. It’s also really, really white and middle class, so there’s some perspective distinctly missing, but was a fun and relatively short (7 episode?) show. Parents may enjoy.


#19

I just finished Yoku’s Island Express. A lot’s already been said about this game, so I’ll keep it short. As someone that enjoys the skill involved in pinball but is generally not interested in score chasing, I liked it a whole lot and would recommend it to anyone that feels the same way. I’ll probably go for 100% completion.


#20

Please do! I’d love to have a place to discuss it without the usual crap that comes with the subreddit.


#21

Yeah, definitely. It’s a really solid campaign with some really fun fights. The story is delivered well, and I’ve got a ton of stuff to work towards in the endgame - between the stacking daily challenges and the weekly challenges, there are plenty of powerful gear upgrades to chase, and I haven’t even started on my alts yet. I feel the Destiny hooks sinking into me again, and I’m none too mad about it.