14. září 2019

So I've Read: Naoko, Ubik, Boss Fight Books

Naoko (Keigo Higashino)
⛅ passable

What: A Japanese salaryman almost loses his wife and daughter in a bus accident. The daughter eventually wakes up from coma, but now apparently has the soul of her mother.
A nicely written thriller, entertaining and you’re never sure where it goes next. Will it descend into full-on horror? Explore its supernatural underpinnings? What is all the build-up for? Unfortunately, is just keeps going and then it ends; as if the author forgot what he was going for in the first place. It’s not bad, but I can’t really recommend it.

Ubik (P.K.Dick)
🌟 great

What: Something goes wrong with the Universe after a team of top anti-psychics gets ambushed.
A fascinating vision of 1990s where dying people are put into hiberating half-life state, teams of psychics and anti-psychics balance the scales of corporate espionage and appliances in your home are coin-operated. Even a straightforward story in this setting would be interesting; Dick obviously goes for a mind-bender, which strays away from what I expected but actually ties it all up in the end (in terms of its themes; not necessarily its plot).

Ubik would make for a great movie, it's very visual. It's also poignant, dreadful, and pretty bonkers. But it’s a book that really makes you think.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Alex Kane, Boss Fight Books series)
⭐ good

What: Interviews and background info on how this RPG classic from BioWare came about.
A short and interesting read if you’re fans of the game (like me).

Jagged Alliance 2 (Darius Kazemi, Boss Fight Books series)
🌟 great

What: Interviews and background info on how this action/strategy/RPG classic from SirTech came about.
This one goes much deeper than the KotOR book and is a great read indeed. It explores what makes JA2 the one-of-a-kind experience it is, why so many similar games have a rather different feel to them, including the effort of its very community, the gigantic JA2 v1.13 mod. The author argues that “they don’t make games like this anymore because they never did”; that JA2 is a result of great creative and technical freedom, an 80s action movie simulator made by people who’d never fired a gun, that somehow got popular among actual gun and military enthusiasts.

2. září 2019

Viděl jsem svět

O podsvětí. Na podobný motiv: Kytice, Hvězda.

Viděl jsem svět

Viděl jsem svět, jak usedá.
Upadlé hnízdo, jak nevěda
zapadlé do času zkamení:

viděl jsem obzory mlčení,
ve které zajde, kdo má rád –
viděl jsem jiskru, splav a spád.

English translation follows.