Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Episode One offers a new single player experience, and is designed to be four to six hours in length. Stepping into the hazard suit of Dr. Gordon Freeman, you face the immediate repercussions of your actions in City 17 and the Citadel. Alyx Vance and her robot, Dog, will accompany you in your efforts to aid in the human resistance's desperate battle against the totalitarian alien menace of the Combine.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
DeLillo's Underworld is a long, dense novel that is not for everyone but rewards those who enjoy the author's dry humor and signature vignettes.
The text begins on October 4, 1951, the date when Bobby Thompson hit the home run in the ninth inning, thereby winning the pennant for the Giants against the Dodgers. This was on the same date, by coincidence, when the Russians exploded their first nuclear bomb.
These two themes, baseball and the Cold War, run throughout the book as dozens of characters and hundreds of incidents intersect and nearly connect but never quite fit together.
Ultimately, for me, the book didn't work. There were quite simply too many characters and too many shifts in narrative time to process for one novel. I ended up lost in the pages - in the cacophony of historical events, human emotions, and snippets of dialogs.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
The novel's impact is in how it is as much a story about the priests spreading their faith as it is a living marker of the historical American Southwest, that vast territory of red hills, arroyos, and unforgiving desert.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
The game boasts astounding, creepy presentation, and it plays like a gritty police procedural that is more like "Seven" than "CSI". The game departs from the traditional action shooter in that more often than not you do not use firearms but instead whatever instruments you can find to engage in close quarters melee combat. Weapons include pipes, axes, crowbars, two-by-fours, and the occasional pistol or shotgun. This results in a visceral, even unsettling, game experience where the combat feels as desperate as the condemned buildings through which the story leads you.
The story is well-plotted but doesn't quite deliver the revelatory moment or satisfying climax to which it builds. There's also a fair bit of repetition in the game's uniform dark and dreary levels.
Overall, though, Condemned: Criminal Origins delivers as expected in providing an unsettling first-person horror action experience.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
What's most interesting about the book is coming across the many rough ideas in their incipient states that Stephenson would go on to flush out in some of his later, more polished works.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
The End of Oil provides a compelling analysis of the current oil and coal dominated energy industry and a stark preview of the looming energy revolution.
Roberts examines all aspects of energy, from the peaking of oil reserves, to the relationship of energy resources and geopolitics, to the effect of current energy consumption on global climate, and to the political and economic challenges in transitioning from oil and coal to alternate energy sources.