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Treasures and Trinkets from Taiwan

9 May

For lack of a more clever title, this post is exactly as it is–the useless-but-cool merchandise I picked up while in Taiwan the past week.  I had originally planned to go to both Japan and Taiwan during my vacation but with the earthquakes in Japan I had to change my itinerary to Taiwan only.

The week I was in Taiwan, I was fortunate to catch the Taipei Game Expo. It was not as it seemed. I thought I’d get to sample new video games for various consoles but it was actually an arcade game expo… which was still cool, but since 60% of the machines there were slot machines of various types I was a little disappointed with the idea I was so sold on. I took a few photos and videos only to realize, on the back of my industry badge that I wasn’t supposed to take pictures. OH WELL. ENJOY BELOW MWAHAHAHA (It’s not like anyone reads this blog anyway).

Besides the game expo (let me also mention it was right next door to the Vegetarian Food Expo, which was an excellent move because I got hungry after playing games and such, and Taiwanese people are very generous with their food. Needless to say I ate and drank to my liking), I also visited a ton of malls and shopping centers, picking up some random objects.

Clearly I took this photo very quickly.... BB (Super-Deformed) Gundams and Keroro Gunso Plamo Collection model kits

BB Gundam (super-deformed)

Just to show you how small this thing is

Left: BB Gundam, Right: Keroro Gunso Plamo Collection

Keroro Gunso Plamo Collection - Tamahorn

PACMAN X MOLESKINE 30TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL EDITION NOTEBOOK. FOOKYEAHHHH

Yeup

Artbooks - Gelatin, We Are, Cannabis Works

Nanoblocks, super tiny lego blocks

Nanoblocks

Outside of Toyland, load up your Pokemon and go at it with your friends. Like I'd be caught doing this... um.. yeah....

YEEEAHHHH

Vocaloid Miku Hatsune Project Diva Arcade Game

Vocaloid Miku Hatsune Project Diva Arcade Game

Vocaloid Miku Hatsune Project Diva Arcade Game

Yes, this entire corner dedicated to Miku.

Piano simulation (of sorts) game

Can I have one of these

Massive multi-player ultimate button-mashing game under the sea

Another dance simulation game... of sorts

Unfortunately a lot of these games I couldn't play for free...

Booth babes and guests

Time Travel Theories

19 Apr

So, there are three main types of time travel. Or, at the very least, that’s the way I tend to classify time travel events in my head whenever I think about it. Which I kinda do a lot, because I’m that much of a nerd. Whatever.

With slight adjustments for the details of a particular time travel event, I really believe that these three categories can be applied to explain and classify every instance of time travel in comics/movies/books/TV shows/etc.

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1. Time is Unchanging: All time travel that happens was always meant to happen. There’s just one timeline; all events are fixed and built into it and can’t be changed. In fact, trying to change or avoid things often means that you, the time-traveller, are the one who makes them happen.

Ex: Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure| Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban| Kate and Leopold| Premonition| Supreme| Timeline.

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2. Time as a River: Time travel can change certain things, but the things that were meant to happen will happen eventually. You might be able to change small details or delay things, but eventually the timeline will correct itself. It’s like throwing rocks into a river: pebbles make ripples, where you can see the tiny effects, but it won’t change the major flow.

Ex:  Doctor Who| Journeyman| Terminator| The Time Machine

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3. Time Changes into Alternate Timelines: The act of time travel always causes a change of some sort, and an alternate timeline branches off from that moment. This is where the most significant changes can happen and so it’s the most commonly seen. This one’s the most complicated just because different ‘verses deal with the role of the traveller and the state of their timeline in so many different ways.

Some ‘Role of the Traveller’ options:

  • merge with your other self and have memories of both timelines (I’ve only ever seen this in Harry Potter fanfiction, but it exists)
  • replace your other self (Batman/Superman Absolute Power)
  • cause yourself to never be born (why Marty fades in Back to the Future)
  • you and the other you(s) can exist simultaneously (old and young Spock in the ’09 Star Trek movie);

Some ‘State of the Timeline’ options:

  • jump between the past and the future making and seeing changes instantly
  • changes in the past create a new timeline, completely erasing yours giving you nowhere to jump back to
  • jump to the future and return to the past to create a new timeline based on what you learned

Ex:  13 Going on 30| Back to the Future| Batman/Superman: Absolute Power| Charmed| Cinderella 3: A Stitch in Time| Eureka| Heroes| Star Trek

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Can you think of more examples of time travel?

Is there anything that doesn’t fit into these categories? Anything that should be reclassified?

Spoiler-free Book Review: The Court of the Air

10 Apr

If I’m being perfectly honest, I bought this book because of it’s cover.

It’s got a pretty font! And there was a cool looking balloon. And a super-cheesy, yet tantalising, tagline. (“A fantastical tale of high adventure, low-life rogues, and orphans on the run.”)

Can't argue with its appeal

Luckily, it managed to live up to my font-driven expectations.

Slotting this book into a genre actually wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be; all I have to do is string words together until they encompass it: it’s a steampunk Victorian fantasy adventure novel.

I think my favourite part about this book is how it shoves you into this new world and just goes, without tedious pages of background explanation. Through the clever use of jargon (in this case, words that are similar enough to their ordinary usage that you can understand their meaning, but used in unusual ways so the world still feels different) you’re plunged into the world without fanfare.

This is one of the few books where I’ve instantly thought “This would make a really good movie.” (Normally, I’m a stickler for original formats: I appreciate the nuances found in a book that a movie wouldn’t be able to convey. And vice versa; I’m an equal opportunity stickler.)

But this book? Would make an awesome movie! This world, done right, would be absolutely beautiful to see on the big screen. There’s so much unique detail: steam-powered living robots, fey mutations and magic users, armoured crab-people, flying bat-winged tribes…and those are just the character possibilities.

You know what would be even better? If it was animated. Not as a kids’ movie, and not necessarily computer animated because I don’t think you’d get the level of detail that this world deserves…but an old-school hand-drawn animated movie. Oh, why don’t I have any artistic skills? I really want this to happen now.

The Court of the Air can be enjoyed as a good old-fashioned adventure novel: exploring and experiencing a new world with the characters as they run for their lives from mysterious forces trying to kill them. (Always fun, right?)

Or, for the literary analysts among us, there’s plenty to read more deeply into. Examples:

  • Political commentary easily conveyed by exaggerating the parliamentary procedures (they actually fight each other during meetings in order to get proposals approved).
  • Social commentary thinly veiled in the described class structure and differenced between the many species/cultures mentioned.
  • Religious contradictions examined, for instance, through the fact that steambots are more spiritual than humans, whose religion is almost indistinguishable from political theory.

The world doesn’t feel as crazy-expansive as most sword-and-sorcery novels do; it’s not spread-out so much that you feel the characters are taking months to trek across it. Not to say that it isn’t good world-building…there are plenty of aspects of this world mentioned in passing which hint at a larger and more detailed universe (which seems like it’s more fully explored and expanded upon in the sequels).

The other covers in the series are just as awesome, and more than enough to encourage me to finish the series. (Yes, I’m shallow in that way. And now I’ve admitted it on the internetz. Damn.)

Has anyone else read it? Want to let me know what you think?

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