Chapter 89: Fast-Fish and Loose-Fish

Alright, enough about space whales, let’s get back to good ol’ fashioned domestic Earth whales.

Diver freeing a sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) trapped in a fishing net.

We’ve got a real barn burner of a chapter today. One of those ones that feels like it was written specifically for me, or at least the 21st century audience. This is just a beautiful bit of philosophical writing that really gets across an idea in a very neat and tidy way. Sure, there are a few rough edges to it, I won’t ignore those, but we’ve certainly gotten used to them by this point, haven’t we?

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Avatar: The Way of Water – Covering up the Charnel House

Y’know, I really went into this movie ready to be swept away.

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I’ve heard all the stories about the original Avatar, how people found themselves aching for this alternate world that it conjured. Of course, I saw it at the time, and enjoyed it but… wasn’t so impressed. Nonetheless, in the intervening years I’ve become a fan of spectacle, and often just let myself enjoy some big dumb action when the spirit so moves me. It did not move when I went to see Jimmy Cameron’s long-awaited sequel to his record-breaking blockbuster about alien cat people.

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Cyberpunk 2077 Review: It’s Mostly Fine

I am sitting on a motorcycle parked behind a cab that is being controlled by a sentient AI run amok. It is one of many such AI that I have tracked down as part of a long term sidequest involving a sentient AI cab company trying to bring its “children” back into the fold.

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The Delamain AI is subjecting me to an endless litany of warmed-over Portal jokes, using the same kind of voice modulation that GladOS did in that game, over a decade ago. There’s a line about cake, references to testing, it is absolutely awful and I sigh out loud while I wait for it to finally be over. Continue reading “Cyberpunk 2077 Review: It’s Mostly Fine”

Reflections in Reflections of Crystal: Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers and the Nature of Fiction

Most metafiction is bad, I find.

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Almost always, when authors start getting into the weeds on the nature of reality, twisting things around and trying to play with the idea of characters within a story knowing that they’re fictional, I find it incredibly boring. It serves as a kind of excuse for not doing the hard work of writing actual characters or events with meaning. You simply point at the fourth wall and say “look at it! I’m doing something interesting here!” Continue reading “Reflections in Reflections of Crystal: Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers and the Nature of Fiction”

Chapter 79: The Prairie

Alright! Time to dig into some race “science”!

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Ah, it’s been a little while, and this is not exactly an ideal chapter to come back with, though it is an interesting one. I’ve been having a bit of a depressive episode and lost myself in Final Fantasy XIV for a couple weeks, due to… *gestures broadly at the world*. As I sit here, the world outside my window blanketed with poisonous fog and haunted by the specter of a deadly virus, it feels somewhat frivolous to write about some 150-year-old book about whales. And yet, I shall, since I don’t really have anything better to do with my time. Continue reading “Chapter 79: The Prairie”

Chapter 78: Cistern and Buckets

Ah, here we go, back to action!

Yes, after a few chapters in a row of straight philosophizing, Ishmael has deigned to give us some more Things That Actually Happened on his fateful whaling voyage. I often wonder how much of the initial poor reception of this book would have been mitigated if Melville mixed these two modes of writing together more evenly. I remember hearing that it went narrative and non-narrative every other chapter, but that’s obviously not true.

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Chapter 48: The First Lowering

Here we go! Time to go kill a god damned sea monster!

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Or, make an attempt, at any rate. It’s really a very difficult thing, taking down such a large and powerful creature. Of course, we humans have made our bones on taking down things much larger and more powerful than ourselves. Perhaps the whale itself is not always the biggest obstacle, though. Continue reading “Chapter 48: The First Lowering”