Plus, I talk about my winter reading list, take a look at some new features at Nuketown, and introduce folks to Recon (our Seeing Eye puppy).
Getting the Show
Recon: Hello and Good-bye
- My family is raising our fourth Seeing Eye puppy. His name is Recon and he’s a black Labrador retriever male.
- We got him in July of 2019 at 7 weeks. Normally he’d have gone back to Seeing Eye when he was 14-16 months. Instead, he’s going back at in early March … when he’s 22 months old/
- Read more about Recon on Nuketown.
Winter Reading List
- The Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson – the fourth-book in the Stormlight Archive. Launching this book, and hearing Michael Kramer and Kate Reading speaking again, was like coming home to old friends. The pair narrated all of Robert Jordan’s books, as well as the previous three Stormlight Archive books. Taken all together, I’ve spent weeks of time listening to their voices – driving to my old job, hiking around the neighborhood, driving to Vermont for vacation – you name it. The biggest challenge will be getting through this book – it’s 57 hours long … so to make any progress, I’m going to need to be consistent with my morning walking routine.
- Chaos Rising by Timothy Zahn – the early days of everyone’s favorite blue alien, Thrawn. The novel takes place in the Chiss Ascendency and involves the rise of a piratical threat to Thrawn’s homeland. It’s a fast, fun read – don’t go in expecting too much, and you’ll be entertained.
- At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft. Illustrated by François Baranger. A beautifully haunting book that captures the isolation and splendor of Antarctica … and the growing cosmic horror that Lovecraft is known for. The book is being published in two parts; Part 2 comes out in 2021.
New features at Nuketown
Into the Spider Verse
- Make Mine Spidey: When it comes to comics, I’m an X-Men fan. I’ve read Spider-man on and off over the years, but that switched to mostly off since the “One More Day” storyline in which Peter Parker’s marriage to Mary Jane was retconned out of existence thanks to a deal with the demon Mephisto. That said, I’ve been aware of subsequent developments in the Spider-verse, and my daughter’s a big fan of Spider-Gwen (from a variant universe in which Gwen Stacy gets bitten by the radioactive spider, and Peter Parker dies) and Silk (a young woman bitten by the same spider that bit Peter)
- Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse: Fantastic movie that pulls together all of the varient spider-people that Marvel’s spun out over the last decade. It centers around Miles Morales, the black teenage Spider-man from Marvel’s Ultimate universe as well as Spider-Qwen, Spider Noir, Penny Parker, and her telepathic spider-powered mecha, “spider dad” (as my kids call him), and … Spider-ham? Awesome visuals, great music, and a kickass story. Easily the best Spider-man movie that Sony’s put out. Maybe the best Spider-man movie ever. I could watch it on a continuous loop. Heck, I have watched it on a continuous loop.
- “Spider-verse” crossover event on Marvel Unlimited: Into the Spider-verse inspired me to check out the original “Spider-verse” mega-event. It featured Spiders from throughout the multiverse being hunted by the life-draining “Inheritors”. As stories go, it doesn’t pack the same emotional punch as Into the Spider-verse, but embrace the same sort of gonzo, “what’s in this universe” fun of the movie. I’d never have collected the print versions, but Marvel Unlimited makes it easy to read.
- Spider-geddon crossover event on Marvel Unlimited: Why limit yourself to just one massive Spider-verse crossover event? The Inheritors are back and an ethics battle rages within the Spider friends as they debate how to end the threat once and for all.
- Spider-man and Spider-man: Miles Morales for Playstation: I haven’t played many Spider-man video games, mostly because 1) superhero video games tend to be terrible and 2) Spider-man video games tend to even more terrible than the average.
- The first Spider-man game for Playstation 4 upends those assumptions. The game puts you in the role of Peter Parker in Yet Another Variant Spider-verse. This time around, he’s Doctor Octavius’ lab assistant (the good doctor hasn’t transformed into Doctor Octopus yet) while Norman Osborn (aka the Green Goblin in other universes) is the Mayor. The game opens with Peter having just taken down Wilson Fisk (aka Kingpin of Crime) … only to find that Fisk had been holding back an even worse criminal. It’s got a tight story set against an open-world Manhattan. The web-slinging mechanic is fantastic, and it’s tremendous fun to swing your way across the city. The game’s core-button mashing mechanic rewards those who care about combos, but doesn’t punish the casual gamer. There are your standard open-world collectibles — so, so many collectibles — but really they’re just an excuse to go web-swinging.
- In the sequel, Miles Morales, you follow Miles around the city as Peter and Mary Jane go to Europe for the winter. Lots of web-slinging around New York, with plenty of friendly-neighborhood spider-man action thanks to a Spidey app (he had to have one eventually). The game involves Roxxon and its plan to deploy a bunch of next-generation power plants around the city … power plants whose cores make people sick. It riffs on many of the same themes as Into the Spider-verse, and even includes Spider-verse inspired costumes and game play modes (in which the character’s frame rate is changed to match the movie, and various “pow” and “slam” word effects show up on screen)
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Featured Image Meta
An iconic shot from Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse. Credit: Sony Animation.