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  • anime, Graphic Novels, Internet, Lists, Rachel

    Everything not saved will be lost.

    11.02.14 | Permalink | 3 Comments

    I’ve been on a really big video game kick lately, especially enjoying some “indie” games including Fez and The Stanley Parable. Which got me thinking, I really love when different media types get all mashed up into one another. Here, specifically, I’m going to highlight some rad books and movies that feature video games in some way.

    The End Games, T. Michael MartinBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

    Seventeen-year-old Michael and his little brother Patrick have been battling the monsters in The Game for weeks. Armed with just a rifle between them, the brothers must follow the instructions of the Game Master, which they hope will lead them to a “safe zone”, safe and far away from the terrifying Bellows, the flesh-hungry roaring beasts that roam the land. Michael and Patrick are very good at The Game. They are surviving. But The Game is changing. The Game doesn’t play fair.

    This book is so exciting, and it uses well-known video game narrative in a novel format, providing us with a thrilling debut novel from T. Michael Martin. Plus, isn’t this opening quote great?

    nintendo

    Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life, Bryan Lee O’MalleyBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

    “What are you doing?”
    “Getting a life.”

    You may have seen the awesome movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and this is the first of six graphic novels that spawned the movie. Scott Pilgrim is a bit of a loser, he plays in a band in his friend’s garage and shares a bed with his roommate, because Scott can’t afford a bed. Or rent. But Wallace has that covered. Then, Scott meets the girl of his dreams – literally. Ramona Flowers rollerblades through Scott’s idle daydream and he becomes determined to track her down. But to get to Ramona, Scott must first defeat Ramona’s seven evil exes… Not so easy after all.

    Scott Pilgrim is so fun because it mashes up video game tropes into its natural narrative. The battles Scott faces with Ramonas exes play out like video game boss battles, and he even earns coins and powerups when he defeats them. The movie is fairly faithful to the books, so watch that if you want, but then ending is different, and the books delve a lot more into little stories that wouldn’t fit into the film. Both are fantastic!

    Level Up, Gene Luen YangBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

    Dennis Ouyang feels crippled by his parents’ high expectations of him. They want him to focus on school so he can become a gastroenterologist (a doctor of the digestive system). Dennis wants to play video games. But he does what’s expected of him, until his father’s sudden death leads him to an academic burnout and gets him kicked out of college. Things are suddenly not so straightforward as they once were, and things keep getting weirder when four sappy greeting card angels appear and take charge of Dennis’s life…

    Video game tropes have a lot of fun imagery associations so a graphic novel format suits the mashup well, I think!

    Ready Player One, Ernest ClineBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

    It’s 2044 and the world is a pretty ugly place. Like most of humanity, Wade escapes this grim reality by hooking himself into OASIS, a sprawling virtual reality where you can live and fall in love on any of your choice of ten thousand planets. OASIS holds grim realities of its own though – somewhere in the sprawling virtual world lurks the ultimate lottery ticket, hidden by OASIS creator James Halliday behind a series of perplexing puzzles. The ticket yields immense fortune and power – if you can unlock it. The world is aware only that Halliday’s riddles are based on his love of late-20th-century pop culture, and many spend their days idly researching and debating Halliday’s idols. Then one day, Wade stumbles across the first clue. Suddenly, the whole world is watching and competing with Wade for the ultimate lottery ticket, many willing to kill Wade to get to it. The race is on, and the stakes are high. Ready, Player One?

    The living-in-a-virtual-reality trope has been widely used, and perhaps is bearing closer on our reality than we realise? Time will tell!

    Eagle Strike, Anthony HorowitzBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

    You may already be aware of Alex Rider, teen MI6 agent, but if not, here’s the lowdown. Alex’s uncle was an agent, he was killed, and Alex was brought onboard with MI6. Each book in the series covers a mission assigned to Alex and in Eagle Strike, the fourth book in the series, Alex discovers a plot by popstar-philanthropist Damian Cray to blow up several countries, supposedly for reasons of (obviously crazed) peace activism. Alex has had MI6 backing him up before, but now he’s on his own. Can he stop Cray’s deadly plan in time?

    Although not obviously video game based, Eagle Strike does contain this element – Cray catches Alex eavesdropping on him, so he drops Alex into a real life version of Feathered Serpent, the game Cray had been developing as part of his diabolical plot. Pure evil!

    Summer WarsCover courtesy of Syndetics

    Kenji is good at maths, bad with girls, and spends most of his time in the sprawling online reality of OZ. He lives an insular life until the girl of his dreams hijacks him to be her fake fiance at her family reunion. During the reunion things only get weirder when a cryptic email is received, unleashing a rogue AI in OZ and falsely implicating Kenji in the hacking. Kenji must halt and restore the damage to the virtual infrastructure and stop the rogue AI, named Love Machine, before it causes irreparable damage.

    If you know of any other great books or movies that fit into this theme, let us know in the comments!


  • Books, Internet, Library Serf, Writing

    How is a book made?

    10.06.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on How is a book made?

    Ever wondered what goes into producing a book? Lauren Oliver, author of the bestselling Delirium trilogy, explains all about it in this series of videos, from coming up with an idea to printing and promoting.


  • Events, Games, Happenings, Internet, Music, Science!, Wellington

    Winging Your Way Through The Weekend, 27-28/4

    26.04.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Winging Your Way Through The Weekend, 27-28/4

    Kia ora!

    Welcome to the weekend. What to do, what to do?

    If you find yourself wandering about Newtown this weekend why not check out Wellington Festival Of Circus? If having clowning & cabaret up in your face isn’t doing it for you maybe Darren Shan could keep you in theme but through the safety of bound text?

    If you’re more of a performer then a watcher have you considered entering this years Smokefree Rockquest? It’s the 25th year this right-of-passage is running and man has it fostered all sorts of household name kiwi musicians. Need some inspiration? Here’s a surface scratching list of previous contestants including Kimbra and last years winners New Vinyl. Take yourself on a journey through our CD collection.

    The curtain falls on Game Masters at Te Papa this weekend. The amazing exhibition that caters to almost every level of gamer was borrowed from the incredible ACMI in Melbourne’s Federation Square and includes Pacman, Space Invaders and Sonic!

    New music on the playlist shelf this week includes ex-Wellingtonian Willy Moon and half New Zealand alt-indie darlings The Veils with their fourth album.

    Ever wondered what happens when you wring a soggy towel out in space? Here’s the answer:

    – Physics, fascinating!

    That’s what’s a going down.

    Fowler out.


  • Happenings, Internet, Music

    Winging Your Way Through The Weekend, 2

    19.04.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Winging Your Way Through The Weekend, 2

    This week marks the halfway point through one of the world’s biggest music festivals. Split across two three day weekends The Coachella Valley Music & Arts Annual Festival (or just Coachella) in the southern California Desert showcases a plethora of bands from world-wining super acts to underground heroes. What’s the use in knowing that this is happening if it’s on the other side of the world you might say? This time of year heralds the festival drought for us but the Northern Hemisphere’s where the good time’s at! A whole array of fabled behemoth events spring up, taunting us from afar and while our imaginations may be tempted with envy one, at least, has decided to share itself with the rest of the world. So, if you find yourself bored in front of the interwebs this weekend or just keen to experience some big gig flavour be sure to tune into the Coachella Youtube channel so you can catch up on weekend one and take in some of the highlights (why not start with this The Lumineers set out-take>).

    It’s really quite a joyous weekend on the musical front with the sixth annual Record Store Day consuming the globe on Saturday. Some of our great Wellington record stores will no doubt be getting in on the action (including Evil Genius, Slow Boat & Rough Peel). We aren’t quite a music store but we’ve got one heck of a music collection you can flick through, thousands of CD’s I tell you. One of the great things about Record Store Day is that a whole lot-a artists get on board and release some sweet merch’ or diddy’s for the day. For the full list click here, some surface-scratching favourite’s partaking include; Foals, Grizzly Bear, Iron & Wine & MGMT with this cassingle (preview only).

    In brief:

    To celebrate their two huge years of global success on the back of Passive Me, Aggressive You kiwi band The Naked And Famous have released their One Temporary Escape recording in San Francisco free to all.

    All ages treat and Auckland Fringe Festival “Best Performance” winner Squidboy hits town at Bats in its current form on Dixon and Cuba. It’s had some sweet reviews like “impossible not to love.”

    Rather get some sport going? The Hurricanes have a home game at Westpac Stadium against Perth’s Western Force – dum, dum, dum (that was a drum roll) who’s gonna win?

    And of course a viral video to end the week on. Na-na-na-na batman.

    That’s what’s a going down.

    Fowler out.


  • Internet, Library Serf, Movies

    Catching Fire Fashion Extra

    12.03.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Catching Fire Fashion Extra

    We at the teen blog like fiction and fashion, so when you put them together you get a winner. We do love the Catching Fire couture photos that have cropped up recently. Even the chairs are awesome. Finnick looks piratical (<3 the word piratical, any excuse to use it), and we’re not sure whose dress is better, Johanna’s or Katniss’ (which looks like it’s part-weapon). Stuff informs us that Effie is wearing Alexander McQueen. Here’s Perez Hilton on the topic.

    Also, make sure you re-read the book while you wait for the first teaser trailer. The movie website (complete with impressive flaming logo) is here.


  • Internet, Simon

    Best Viral Videos 2012

    20.12.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Best Viral Videos 2012

    Here’s a mashup of this year’s best viral videos, as edited by Videogum. Enjoy! Laugh along with me


  • Internet, Library, Library Serf

    Lawspot

    20.11.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Lawspot

    Got a puzzling law question? Lawspot is a Wellington-based website that aims to provide answers to people’s legal queries. So you can find out about the legalities of downloading MP3s from YouTube for example.

    While Lawspot isn’t a substitute for personalised, one-to-one legal advice, it’s a great way of finding out general information. If you’re interested in the law in general you can also browse through answers to see what legal concerns people have.

    We – Wellington City Libraries – also have a range of useful online law databases, courtesy of mygateway.info.

    If you’re interested in studying law (and staying in Wellington while doing so), the Victoria University Law Faculty has all the info, obvs. – including a video that features impressive Wellington buildings and scenery (and two tiny clips of people in lectures).


  • Internet, Library Serf, Writing

    More successful teen authors

    02.10.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on More successful teen authors

    It’s well known that it’s very hard to get your book published. Some writers slave away for years before their first success, while some fortunate and talented people get published as teens. A little while ago we did an investigation into the teen publishing phenomenon, the result being this Top 10 list.

    The trend is still continuing, thanks to the success of Alexandra Adornetto (Halo), Kody Keplinger (The DUFF) and others, as are spotlighted in this YALSA article.

    The article has also got some suggestions for websites for aspiring writers, so it’s well worth a read if you love writing.

    Which reminds us, it’s just one month from Nanowrimo (“thirty days and nights of literary abandon”), where you get to attempt to write a novel in 30 days (while still keeping on top of NCEA).


  • Fantasy, Grimm, Internet

    Ferragost by Melina Marchetta

    06.08.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Ferragost by Melina Marchetta

    Ferragost is a short story set in the world of the Lumatere Chronicles, featuring Lady Celie. It’s being published in the Review of Australian Fiction, an online journal, which is available for purchase (about $3.00 Australian) from tomorrow (7 August).

    Melina Marchetta promises that the story doesn’t have any spoilers for Quintana of Charyn, which is released in a few weeks’ time, but that it does provide useful background. More explanation and a short extract here.


  • Internet, Interview, Library Serf, News, Sport

    Some Links

    26.07.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Some Links

    If you’re a Jodi Picoult fan, and you’re interested in Between the Lines, the new novel she has written with her daughter Samantha Van Leer, then here’s a Radio New Zealand interview they did together today, talking about the inspiration for stories, who to cast in the movie, and other such writerly things.

    Here’s a lovely salute to Margaret Mahy by American author Kristin Cashore, focussing on the many reasons why MM’s young adult writing is so wonderful, and so deservedly award-winning.

    If you are interested in the Olympic Games and statistics, the New York Times has a map of medals won by country from 1896 to 2008. It is pretty cool (if you’re not into stats) and very interesting (if you are). In 1984 New Zealand won enough medals for “New Zealand” to appear on its circle.

    NPR.com (National Public Radio, I believe) in the US is compiling a list of the best young adult novels ever. You can vote for your favourites (a bit of good taste from New Zealand won’t hurt).


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