I’m a firm believer in refilling the creative tank when it runs dry, so I spend the time I’m not writing, working, or sleeping by cramming fresh media into my already overloaded brain. So, for you guys, I’ve made a list of everything that I’ve been plugged into for the past few weeks. Here we go!
- The Last Legends of Earth – A novel by A.A. Attanasio from 1989, I last read this beast when I was in middle school. It’s a sprawling epic describing the millennia-long war between two alien species, the artificial solar system that is their battleground, and the various people that get caught in the middle. It’s a book you gotta be patient with—it likes to introduce characters or concepts in one chapter whose relevance only becomes obvious in the next chapter or the chapter after that.
Ouran High School Host Club – An anime where a middle-class honor student at a school for ludicrously rich kids gets shanghaied into joining a club that mimics “host clubs” where women pay for drinks and to chat with charming men. There’s just one catch: said honor student is genderfluid, and it takes the entire first episode for the club to realize she’s biologically female. This, naturally, leads to shenanigans.
- Starship Grifters – A comedy space opera novel about a con man, Rex Nihilo, and his long-suffering robot girl Friday, Sasha, as they attempt to make the best out of getting saddled with a useless planet tied to a massive debt. The humor can be hit or miss, but generally lands, especially when targeted at pop culture touchstones like Star Wars.
- Stranger Things – This is one everyone probably knows by now: a show on Netflix that takes place in a Spielberg-style version of the 1980s where weird shit starts happening in a small town after the disappearance of a little boy. I’m particularly fond of how the show’s mythology is broached, because the monster doesn’t follow any preset rules culled from myths or legends.
- Bloodborne Original Soundtrack – The soundtrack to From Software’s cosmic horror action game about blood, childbirth, nightmares, and really cool hats. It ranges from tinkly nursery rhymes to full orchestra with frantic choral accompaniment. I grabbed the soundtrack to the DLC, The Old Hunters, and paired that with the soundtrack to the rest of the game in Spotify. A+ thinking for me! This has the bonus of being good working music when hashing out the stories I’m writing using tarot for inspiration, seeing as Bloodborne was a primary influence.
- It – The new one, not the old one. I enjoyed it, but Steven King’s habit of sandwiching real, banal evil between the sanity and the supernatural fuckery has a tendency to make me deeply uncomfortable. I walked out of the theater way more terrified and disgusted by Bev’s father than I was by Pennywise. It was a good movie, and I had a good time (especially because of Richie), but I’ll probably be sticking with Stranger Things for my Eighties nostalgia fix.
- Bombshell – A self-aware isometric shooter with a female protagonist, echoes of Doom and Quake II, and a list of bugs as long as the heroine’s ginormous robot arm. As much as I enjoy playing it, the fact that the execution animation for one enemy winds up with the shotgun in play spinning bizarrely and then coming to rest aimed away from the target is both unforgivable and hilarious.
- Wicca for Beginners – A book on Amazon by Lisa Chamberlain, I grabbed this out of curiosity because, no matter what I did, I couldn’t find any resources online that gave me a solid walkthrough of the tenets of Wicca—something I wound up looking for due to a recent interest in animism in religion.
- Mobile Fighter G Gundam Soundtrack – The soundtrack to the greatest Gundam series ever created and if you even think about disagreeing I’ll break every kneecap you own. I’m currently typing the outline to a space fantasy adventure where the heroine is a mecha pilot, so this is particularly apropos background music for that.
Unity 5 From Zero to Proficiency – Written by Patrick Felicia, this is the textbook for the course in Unity game design I’m taking right now (because I guess I’m supposed to “get out more” or whatever). Very straightforward and very basic, it covers the absolute fundamentals of how to work in the Unity development environment—and when I say fundamental, I mean it. This book includes shit like “how to save your project”, “how to organize your crap”, and “how to make a cube”. For all that, it actually gets you up and running pretty quick when it comes to making a gamelike thing you can actually play.
So that’s what I’ve been doing to try to make sure the ol’ thinker doesn’t run out of juice. How about you guys? What have you been ingesting so you can slosh it around in your authorial digestive tract for later regurgitation? Let me know in the comments!