Book review: Last God Standing by Michael Boatman

LastGodStanding-144dpiLast God Standing
Author: Michael Boatman
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release date: March 2014 (US/Canada/ebook); April 2014 (UK)
Blurb:

Creator. Supreme being. Stand-up comic…?!
When God decides to quit and join the human race to see what all the fuss is about, all Hell breaks loose.
Sensing his abdication, the other defunct gods of Earth’s vanquished pantheons want a piece of the action He abandoned.
Meanwhile, the newly-humanised deity must discover the whereabouts and intentions of the similarly reincarnated Lucifer, and block the ascension of a murderous new God.
How is he ever going to make it as a stand-up comedian with all of this going on…?
The Ultimate in Divine Comedy…

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The CW's The 100 is…

...Lord of the Flies. The 100 is about a far future where humanity lives on a space station and they send all the delinquent youths back to Earth to determine is the planet is habitable. … Um, they’ve proven they can’t be trusted so you send them on an important mission to see if earth was survivable? Good plan.

Murphy’s Law
Kill the pig!

All the 100 have these wristbands that monitor their vitals and let the folks up on the space station know they’re alive and thriving or dying slowly. Of course the take-charge psycho realizes you can just take the wristbands off and  let the people who “sent then down to die” think they’re dead and dying.
There’s like one black guy and he’s the noble voice of reason. While their leader is all “they’ll make us prisoners and poor again.”
But reason, neither heartfelt nor rage-filled, won’t do much when they have to face Grounders! Whats? People who stayed on Earth and survived by adapting and becoming something no longer human…
Murphy’s Law
We have fundamental, moral differences. Being good is right! Being bad is fun!

So there are a bunch of youths running around on the surface being total assholes while monsters lurk. Some want to be good, some want to be bad. That’s essentially the plot. Also, that’s essentially the plot of Lord of the Flies.
They’re nerds, bullies, brats, and followers. There’s cool kids picking on losers, noble and strong kids trying to do the right things, and a bunch of expendable others to either punch or defend.
There isn’t a conch … actually, the one guy who decided to be in charge has a gun and everyone else has shanks.
We're up here, and they're down there. We should kill people up here so people up here can live. I disagree...
We’re up here, and they’re down there. We should kill people up here so people up here can live.
I disagree…

The unique (and only interesting) aspect is the people on The Arc (Get it? like Noah’s.) trying to survive and figure out what’s going on. The council keeps talking able a culling and the engineers are noticing that that drop ship that was ejected because of a serious malfunction didn’t leave any damage and no one’s heard from any of the prisoners who are under some mysterious quarantine.
Humanity is screwed from above and below. I’m currently rooting for the Grounders to kill the 100 and the engineers to use the fact that they’re THE ENGINEERS on a SPACE STATION to their advantage.

 Here’s the super-long official summary of The 100:

 

Because The CW...
Because The CW…

Ninety-seven years ago, nuclear Armageddon decimated planet Earth, destroying civilization. The only survivors were the 400 inhabitants of 12 international space stations that were in orbit at the time. Three generations have been born in space, the survivors now number 4,000, and resources are running out on their dying “Ark” – the 12 stations now linked together and repurposed to keep the survivors alive. Draconian measures including capital punishment and population control are the order of the day, as the leaders of the Ark take ruthless steps to ensure their future, including secretly exiling a group of 100 juvenile prisoners to the Earth’s surface to test whether it’s habitable. For the first time in nearly a century, humans have returned to planet Earth. Among the 100 exiles are Clarke, the bright teenage daughter of the Ark’s chief medical officer; Wells, son of the Ark’s Chancellor; the daredevil Finn; and the brother/sister duo Bellamy and Octavia, whose illegal sibling status has always led them to flaunt the rules. Technologically blind to what’s happening on the planet below them, the Ark’s leaders – Clarke’s widowed mother, Abby; the Chancellor, Jaha; and his shadowy second in command, Kane – are faced with difficult decisions about life, death and the continued existence of the human race. For the 100 young people on Earth, however, the alien planet they’ve never known is a mysterious realm that can be magical one moment and lethal the next. With the survival of the human race entirely in their hands, THE 100 must find a way to transcend their differences, unite and forge a new path on a wildly changed Earth that’s primitive, intense and teeming with the unknown.

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PAX East 2014 | Organic Panic


1978876_224701924385529_1851087260_nOrganic Panic
is a  puzzle-platformer about a Protein vs Produce apocalypse. Technically the protein (Meats and Cheeses) have already won and the Produce are living in fear while they’re hunted for sport.

LastLimb, created by brother David and Anatole Branch, funded Organic Panic through a kickstarter campaign and got greenlit on Steam Greenlight. Obviously this game makes a good impression.

But what was it like to play Organic Panic in real life?

Kae and I played Organic Panic at PAX East and got a copy of the comic which details the story. We used XBox 360 controllers on a PC build.983632_226653834190338_414048056255896916_n

  • Single player was fun and reminiscent of old-school platformers like Sonic The Hedgehog or Donkey Kong with a bit of a Super Meatboy twist.
  • Each character has special abilities (fueled by collecting magic stars) like the ability to shoot whatever material they’re in contact with, throw water, set things on fire, and telekinesis.1010122_224401007748954_746872795_n
  • Each ability comes out in the comic (Produce is magical and Protein is technological, duh), which explains how the Protein took over, what the Produce plans t do about it, and why there are all these portals around.
  • The levels weren’t exactly continuous stories (at least not what we played) as much as they were action based puzzles — which is totally normal for levels on platformers. Each level started with a different character so you couldn’t really choose your favorite and stick with it. The cherry with it’s shooting ability was really fun. But if you can only be one character per level, it means the characters aren’t all equal on all the levels. However, it makes sense if you read the comic and know that the old Apple is sending the fruits on missions through portals to support his master plan.1975125_224032251119163_885536456_n
  • In multiplayer, we were each given a character that had to work with the the other to solve our way to the door (end of the level).
  • Multiplayer levels were more like single-screen puzzles with each fruit on one side and the objective door some where visible but out of reach.10014643_225249220997466_1604416436_n
  • Playing with a friend in this way was fun and frustrating. If one player dies, you reset. And boy did we die a lot. You have to talk it out and point and shout and try and fail and finally, victory fist pump when you win.

Organic Panic was a fresh take on cute and campy platformers and post-apocalyptic resistance. It felt both familiar and unique with a solid psychics build and “fleshed out” characters. The game was easy enough to pick up and play though there were some place where you could run out of mana and then you were just stuck and had to restart the level. They’re short levels so it wasn’t a big deal.
Keep an eye out on Steam, because it’s coming soon.

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PAX East 2014 | Borderlands the Pre-Sequel

Borderlands the Pre-Sequel is set between Borderlands and Borderlands 2 (see how it’s both a prequel and sequel?) and takes place on the moon of Pandora. (Because 2K Australia was behind getting this game out, everyone on the moon is Australian.)
I died a little when I heard there would be another Borderlands game AND it would be staring Claptrap! Well, Claptrap will be one a four playable characters.
This game will follow the rise of Handsome Jack, who is your boss/leader.
Most of the gameplay seems the same as it was in Borderlands 2– which is a pro in my book. There are a few new features like cryo-bullets that freeze enemies so they can be smashed.
This time, because you’re on the moon, there is a new piece of gear you get: your O2 thing. They called it “Oz” in the demo. Oz lets you double jump, hover, and super stomp (especially cryo-frozen bandits). You’ll also have the pleasure of blowing bandits off the moon when you grenade them!
Check out the Borderlands the Pre-Sequel developer overview below and the write up on the 2K Games blog.
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Review: The Book of the Crowman by Joseph D'Lacey

ThTheBookOfTheCrowman-144dpie Book of the Crowman
Series: The Black Dawn
Author: Joseph D’Lacey
Publisher: Angry Robot
Genre: Fantasy
Release date: March 2014
Blurb:

It is the Black Dawn, a time of environmental apocalypse, the earth wracked and dying.
It is the Bright Day, a time long generations hence, when a peace has descended across the world.
The search for the shadowy figure known only as the Crowman continues, as the Green Men prepare to rise up against the forces of the Ward.
The world has been condemned. Only Gordon Black and The Crowman can redeem it.

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